I’ve just finished reading Proust’s À la Recherche du Temps Perdu, (In Search of Lost Time). I read one review that said, “If you can make it to the end, it’s life changing”.
The book was demanding for me but grueling for The Husband as he is on 24/7 call for my life’s queries which can range from whether to use one or two tomatoes in a recipe to pondering the likelihood of an afterlife. Many nights during the six months it took me to read Proust’s magnum opus, The Husband was wide awake at midnight listening to me drone on about the lack of plot or likable characters. One occasion I woke him out of a dead sleep shrilling, “I’ve just read 500 pages about a kid who wants a bedtime kiss from his mother!” To which The Husband naively suggested that I not finish the book. He seriously said it like this was a new idea but he knows:
1. Never drive in the passing lane;
2. A hard NO on anything involving packing peanuts;
3. Easy on the emojis, sister;
4. Always finish the book.
So I finished the book (7,000+ pages on my iPad) only to then learn that it is the longest novel ever written and also contains the world’s longest known sentence. OH YOU THINK I DIDN’T ALREADY KNOW THAT? As to the life-changing ending? Spoiler alert: Our protagonist learns through painful introspection that he was built to be a writer and will go on to write a book which includes such hair-raising plot lines as 500 pages about a kid who wants a goodnight kiss from his mother. Lost time, indeed.
During my book club discussion last month, one member suggested that our group read more heady books. While normally I would agree, that day I sat on my hands and buttoned my mouth and listened to praises about that month’s brain-candy book, Where the Crawdads Sing. I thought the book—about a kid with no mother to kiss goodnight—was very… heartwarming (but instinct said I shouldn’t share that out loud).
I’m currently doing a rewrite of my personal credo. For while I still put left lane drivers in the same category as serial killers and pedophiles, and a packing-peanuts-related event will be the reason I serve jail time someday, I will no longer force myself to finish a book. Never.
But, Jane. I am still asking that you go easy on the emojis. 😜🙏🏻👍