Today is Marcel Proust's birthday. I have my cup of tea, but it is caramel roibos and not lime blossom. And, I'm not dunking a madeleine in it. Instead I have a bowl of cherries from which my cat is also helping himself (he really likes cherry stems.)
I've done it. I've conquered the first stage of Mount Proust. Considering that this is just the very first part of the very first volume of In Search of Lost Time, my celebration is a bit ridiculous. But, I have made it past my previous high water mark of page 23.
When people talk about the opening of this book, they talk about how the narrator gruelingly describes his inability as a child to fall asleep, an experience that had such an effect on him that sometimes, when he's jostled awake by a dream or a noise from the street as an adult he imagines he's back in his childhood bedroom.
I have a feeling that Proust's attention to detail won't stop with just this first bedroom scene. Proust's sentences go on and on an on, but not in a run-on way. What he says is elegant and it flows. The man knew how to effectively use the semi-colon.
I laughed at the subtlety of the narrator's Aunts trying to thank Swan for his gift of a case of Asti. And, I had to agree with his Grandfather that it was impossible to recognize their efforts as thank yous!
I also smiled at the quirks of the family dynamics that the narrator describes in detail. I loved that they always sent Grandma as a scout to see who was at the gate and that Grandma enjoyed being a spy. I loved the narrator's scheming.