Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

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September Books 6) How Proust Can Change Your Life

6) How Proust Can Change Your Life, by Alain de Botton

I'm tremendously grateful to webcowgirl for recommending this to me. De Botton does a brilliant job of juxtaposing Proust's many oddities as a person (there is a truly hilarious account of his one disastrous meeting with James Joyce) with the achievement of his writing. In particular, he points out, the point of Proust's work is not so much to bring us into the imagined world of Combray, Balbec and Paris, but to equip us readers to experience our own world, our relationships, our reading, all the more vividly. The chapters have titles like "How to Be a Good Friend", "How to Be Happy in Love" and "How to Suffer Successfully", all with evidence from In Search of Lost Time backed up with stories from Proust's own life of how he did (or quite often did not) live up to these ideas himself. Excellent stuff, and actually a great book for people who have not yet read Proust but might be thinking about doing so.
Tags: bookblog 2008, writer: proust

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