Strolling down THE GUERMANTES WAY

I’m still doing my Proust thing. Finished reading WITHIN A BUDDING GROVE. But now we’re getting into my favorite volumes, and I remembered exactly what I love about Proust: at a certain point, everything goes topsy-turvy and you start to see people in a completely different light than previously.

The key transformation point comes early in the third book when a neighbor of the narrator, Jupien, tells him that Francois, the narrator’s loyal servant, recently told Jupien that she thinks the narrator is utterly spoilt and useless. The narrator is astonished. He could have sworn, up to this point, that Francoise loved him unconditionally. And he realizes that it’s simply impossible to ascertain the truth because, if questioned, Francoise would of course claim that she’d never said such a thing.

And with that the novel begins to break open, and we start to see other facets of characters that we’d previously thought we’d known. Bores turn out to be great intellects; insightful writers turn out to have a dull side; witty society people turn out to be insecure and dull. Everybody turns out to simultaneously contain their own opposite. It’s an indescribable thing, and it’s not at all like what you’ve seen before in the book.

%d bloggers like this: