Synopses & Reviews
'What a marvellous book this is . . . de Botton dissects what Proust] had to say about friendship, reading, looking carefully, paying attention taking your time, being alive and adds his own delicious commentary. The result is an intoxicating as it is wise, amusing as well as stimulating, and presented in so fresh a fashion as to be unique . . . I could not stop, and now much start all over again.' Brian Masters, Mail on Sunday
'De Botton not only has a complete understanding of Proust's life . . . but what is particularly charming about this small, readable book is its tongue-in-cheek benignity, its lightly held erudition and its generous way of lending itself to what is not only the greatest book of the century but also the darkest and the most eccentric' Edmund White, Observer
'It contains more human interest and play of fancy than most fiction . . . de Botton, in emphasizing Proust's healing, advisory aspects, does us the service of rereading him on our behalf, providing of that vast sacred lake a sweet and lucid distillation.' John Updike, New Yorker
'De Botton's little book is so charming, amusing and sensible that it may even itself change your life.' Allan Massie, Daily Telegraph
'This engaging book is one of the most entertaining pieces of literary criticism I have read in a long while.' Sunday Telegraph
'A very enjoyable book' Sebastian Faulks
"It's a real pleasure to read someone who treats this sacrosanct subject as something that is still vital and vigorous." Publishers Weekly
"[A] delightfully original work of literary criticism.... By characterizing In Search of Lost Time with amusing superficiality, he has succeeded in showing us some of the novel's greatest depths." Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times Book Review
"Funny and very refreshing." San Francisco Chronicle
"Curious, humorous, didactic and dazzling.... It contains more human interest and play of fancy than most fiction." The New Yorker
"Erudite....After reading de Botton's book, one will savor Proust with fresh wonder and gratitude." The Washington Post
"A lively, original guide to living, and... an engaging introduction to the life and letters of one of the century's most interesting fictional thinkers... literary criticism wearing its slyest disguise since Julian Barnes's Flaubert's Parrot." Cleveland Plain Dealer
"One of my favorite books of the year.... Seriously cheeky, cheekily serious." Julian Barnes
"A witty, elegant book that helps us learn what reading is for." Doris Lessing
Marcel Proust, author of In Search of Lost Time, one of the longest novels of the twentieth century, was an authority on how to live a richer, happier, more successful life - although rarely happy himself. The author gives an affectionate view of the brilliant and often bizarre novelist, and an interpretation of his novel. New paperback edition.
A hilarious, utterly unexpected, and unexpectedly practical joining of genres -- literary biography, explication of text, and self-help manual.
Alain de Botton's three novels (all published since 1993) have received rapturous praise from critics and writers alike, but nothing he has done before has prepared us for this, his first work of nonfiction. Who would have thought that Marcel Proust -- one of the twentieth century's acknowledged literary masters and great eccentrics-would have had such acute insight into subjects ranging from vacations and the importance of being a good host to sex on the first date (he's against it) and recognizing true love. It took de Botton to find the inspirational in Proust's essays, letters, and fiction and, perhaps even more surprising, to draw out a vivid and clarifying portrait of the master from between the lines of his work.
Here is Proust as we have never seen or read him before: with an intelligent, uniquely witty, and always tasteful '90s makeover.
About the Author
Alain de Botton was born in 1969. He is the author of the novels On Love, The Romantic Movement, and Kiss and Tell; his work has been translated into sixteen languages. He lives in Washington, D.C., and London.