Sunday, September 18, 2005

On not having read Proust

Recently it occurred to me that I could die without having read Proust. Not that I am that old, but that Proust is that long. So I resolved to set about it. Having now purchased the first three volumes of the world's longest novel in a well-reviewed new translation, I have read all of fifty pages, hardly enough to be able to say I have even begun to read Proust. The question is, when I have finished all million words or so, will I then be able to say I have read him? By that point, won't I have forgotten almost everything I read, and have to start over?

Although I like long, slow novels (and movies) where nothing happens, this is perhaps the ultimate slow read. Proust is not inordinately fond of paragraphs and so he uses very few of them. The net effect is to elongate the normal time span in which one might expect to wade through even a miniscule piece of the novel (significantly titled In Search of Lost Time). I have to say, though, that thus far I am enjoying my Proustian journey, and that is fortunate, for by all indications, I shall wear out several pairs of reading boots while walking that "way."

1 comment:

Sophia said...

Yikes. That sounds a bit lengthy for me. First, I have a hard time sticking with long novels. Secondly, I can't stand extraordinarily long paragraphs! But, good luck to you. Maybe you can report back to us on your experiences.