Monday, July 03, 2006

Proust in England

I first attempted to read "Swann's Way" during a trip to England several years ago. My husband and I decided to visit Oxford and while there, the Oxford University Press store. Warning to readers: if you have are unable to control yourself in a bookstore DO NOT GO THERE. We purchased many books that we then shipped back to the U.S.

One of my many purchases there was "Swann's Way." I was in grad school at the time and my roommate was reading part of it for a class. She described the whole iconic Madeline scene and I felt like it was just the sort of thing I would like to read. So once I bought the book I was ready to dive right in.

Reading Proust on buses and trains and in bed and breakfasts in England when you can snatch a few minutes here and there is not ideal. I had no idea when I started the book how incredibly detailed everything would be. No idea that sentences would go on forever. No idea that at times there was very little action. It was hard to hold my attention, but I knew somehow that I liked it and would need to finish it. Someday.

I've since tried a couple times to read the book. Its never quite been the right moment and I've always felt that I needed some support to get through it. I think I've finally found that moment and the support!

So, I will be reading the Lydia Davis translation. Thanks to Stefanie's post I will get to that introduction today. I am currently reading "Absurdistan" by Gary Shteyngart and once done with it will be ready for Proust. Just finished "A Potrait of a Lady" (loved it) and needed something much different from James and Proust!


Blogger Stefanie said...

There's an Oxford University Press bookstore? I know where I am going when I make it to the UK! I made the mistake of reading Swann's Way in snatches too. It just doesn't work but I didn't realize it until I was almost done. So I am very much looking forward to trying it again.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Dorothy W. said...

I'm very glad to have a group too; I might have read Proust eventually, but definitely not soon, and I'm glad for the opportunity to read it with others.

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL re Oxford - the whole town is a nightmare if you're on a budget for books.

3:55 AM  

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