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Lavinia

Lavinia

In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower - Marcel Proust, Christopher Prendergast, James Grieve In this second volume of "A la recherche..." Proust continues to focus on/analyse love- more or less from a teenage perspective, focusing on the narrator's love for Gilberte, Swann's daughter. Actually, every two pages or so there is at least one paragraph that can be regarded as an aphorism on love. I basically pictured myself many years ago reading Les Miserables, when I used to write down similar passages about love & co. in a little notebook destined to keep all my favourite book quotations. Thank God I didn't feel the urge to do it this time!

And then of course we have other people, like the Marquis of Norpois, invited to a luncheon in the narrator's family -a good opportunity for Proust to make a tour de force through French cuisine-, Berma, the famous actress he loves so much or Bergotte, the narrator's favourite author, who inspired him in choosing a writing career (although his family wanted him to be a diplomat) and whom he finally meets. And obviously there are the ladies, their gossip, their dresses and their tea parties.

The second part - the narrator's summer holiday in Balbec with his grandmother - is more like a watercolour or an impressionist painting. Things move slower, there's a sort of daily routine yet there are different things to do and events to attend every day, whether it's a stroll on the beach by himself, tea with his grandmother's acquaintances, a visit to Elstir's art studio, befriending Robert de Saint-Loup or, towards the end, Albertine and her friends.

Random thought while reading: If Proust were a type of fabric, he'd be silk needle lace.