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This is the complete series of “In Search of Lost Time,” by Marcel Proust, which is the longest novel ever written. I started out in libraries in high school as a library page and I saw this book and thought it was enormous but didn’t read it. It was only until I was an undergrad in the summer in Seattle when I came across one in a bookshop and bought it. It is semi-autobiographical with themes of how time is lost and something you can’t grasp.
While I had stress in my life as a 20-year-old college student when I read this for the first time, I didn’t have day-to-day stresses. As I got a little bit older, it took on a new meaning when I reread it again and was at different stages of my life. I last read it five years ago.
As Proust goes through life, he gets older and his relationships are getting older. By the final volume, it is still the same characters throughout but he talks about how different these individuals are and how they age, the different things that can happen to them.
To liken it to modern times, it is like “Game of Thrones” or something. You can look back and see how all these characters change over the work. He is almost a trendsetter too have so many volumes. You almost need a map for this. Each volume is a different part of his life.
Along with a lot of artists and writers, he wasn’t able to see the praise that his novel got. He died pretty young. It wasn’t until later on that people started to see the novel for what it is. It is probably one of the best novels written in the 20th century ,and that is from the likes of James Joyce and Virginia Woolf recognizing it as a phenomenal piece of work.
Unless it is my family, I don’t really have something in my life that lasted that long. A phone? It might be the last two years. A car? Five years. It is pretty cool that a book can stay with you for that length of time.
He has a passage here where he is eating a dessert and he had that dessert a number of years ago at his aunt’s house. Him eating it brings him back to that time.
Rereading this first one brought me back to what I was going through at that time. Rereading it might bring you back a different history at that point in your life.
That is why it is a favorite object of mine and I try to reread it as much as possible.
(This interview was edited and condensed by Dennis Burck. If you have a recommendation for “Favorite Things,” please email email@example.com.)