Sunday, July 13, 2008

Within a Budding Grove

In the people-watching summer months, I find the intricate and pained musings in Proust's novels to be especially enjoyable.

In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower is a story of relationships from the view of a tormented adolescent. In two parts, (focusing also on two distinct women), it gives an exhaustive representation of Paris and the Normandy seaside that I really enjoyed. With familiarity now with the same narrator that took us through Swann's Way, the reader is used to the paralyzing thoughts and neurotic behavior as a baseline for the slow-moving story.

As the narrator says, "In the confusion of existence, it is seldom that a joy is promptly paired with the desire that longed for it." While I do believe at this point the narrator was speaking of his first love, or rather his desire for her, that theme was carried through the whole book and might remind you of much in the first novel. Often despondent, the narrator concludes, "... those who know love and those who enjoy life are not the same people."

One of the narrator's acquaintances says to him, "There is no such thing as a man, however clever he may be, who has never at some time in his youth uttered towards, or even led a life, that he would not prefer to see expunged from memory. He should not find this absolutely a matter for regret, as he cannot be sure he would ever have become as wise as he is... had he not traversed all the silly or detestable incarnations that are bound to precede that final one." While sometimes laughing at and sometimes empathizing with the narrator, I see how well his words may ring true.

1 comment:

Tim Faith said...

umm... You're going to need to post more often...