Five Days of Bovary and Break-Ups; RADIO
Byline: SIMON GARFIELD
Fine synchronicity all week on Radio 4. Woman's Hour was dramatising Madame Bovary, the archetypal modern novel of adultery. A few hours later, The Ex Files (Monday-Friday) *** explored modern manners 150 years on, not least how to break it to a partner that you have fallen in love with someone else and were not actually having piano lessons every afternoon as you had said.
Despite its often heartrending subject matter, The Ex Files was one of those series that offered comfort and relief: no, you weren't the only one to sit outside a former lover's house for hours in a car; that text you sent when drunk on New Year's Eve - oh, we've all been there.
The five-day series examined five types of heartbreak: the crass words people say when they split up ('It isn't you, it's me), the self-delusional things one does to deny it's all over, the tricky job of remaining friends with an ex, misguided attempts to reconcile and finally getting to a place where a break-up doesn't hurt anymore.
Each episode featured a collage of unidentified voices, none of them famous, most of them over the worst, a couple of them lesbian, one or two of them counsellors with hardhearted advice: 'You've got to throw them back in the pond - make them just another fish! …