Gustav Flaubert's first novel recounts the life of Emma Bovary, a provincial doctor's wife and a fantasist. To escape the banality of her life, Emma commits adultery and spends wildly. She is selfish and pretentious, but her desire for a life wider and richer than the one available to her makes it easy to sympathise with her. In this article, the writer A S Byatt describes the beauty and significance of Madame Bovary.
Flaubert's famous remark about his character, "Madame Bovary, c'est moi" ("Madame Bovary is me"), is similar to an observation about writing made by Fowles: "You are every character you write." (source)