The Proust Book Group
«La vraie vie, la vie réellement vécue, c’est la littérature.» (Proust, ‘Le Temps Retrouvé’)
Time to read Proust.
Well, personally, after my last book group meeting where I ended up discussing a transvestite who ate his own genitalia, I had no choice but to attempt to scale the giddy heights of ‘A la recherche du temps perdu’. I mean, after plumbing the murky depths of sexual deviance and predictable (albeit unintentionally hilarious) narrative, delivered in a prose style so grating that it made me feel that I too could churn out a book like this (never a good recommendation), I had nowhere to go but up.
I had read the trashy novel. I had discussed it. I had treated it with respect. I had enjoyed the process. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but think that it would be good to spend my reading time on a book that was, well, better written.
My whole body soared upwards, gasping for the air of something more meaningful, beautiful, challenging…
Then it came to me.
Proust. He of the book that will change your life fame(IF you read it).
‘A la recherche du temps perdu’ – the book that leaves many stranded in its foothills.
It had to be. From the ridiculous to the sublime. Time for a challenge. I’ve been limbering up for far too long. Time to climb a mountain.
Anybody fancy joining us? Our first Proust bookgroup post will be out Friday 22nd May when Connie and I will tackle Overture/Combray from Book 1 ’Swann’s Way’ (Du Côté de chez Swann).
It could take some time but slow and steady is all right by me.
You could read it in the French.
Folio gallimard produce paperback versions as do Garnier-Flammarion
Pléiade (of the silky smooth pages) produce a leatherbound version
You could read it in translation.
Scott-Moncrieff (Penguin Classics) used to be the recommended version but now there are several excellent alternatives.
You could even read it online (for free) at –