Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Guermantes Way

A Christmas gift from me to myelf. I finally finished Young Girls in Flower, the Proust book set in Balbec by the sea where Proust first meets Albertine and her friends.

I was touched an amazed at how the last few pages summarized the whole book, with beautiful lyricism about the sea and the girls and how everything came together. One had earned these fantastic passages by reading the preceding pages, and contemplating Albertine's cheecks hundreds of times. It reminded me of the lyrical Kerouac after many tedious pages about the exploits of Dean Moriarty. I wonder if anyone has ever written a thesis about Proust and Kerouac. It won't be moi.

The odd thing is, I have the idee fixe that Albertine looks like a high school friend of mine, and I can't dislodge it, no matter how I try.

Now, on to The Guermantes Way, and long descriptions of the Guermantes humor which I don't think is anything like Saturday Night Live, or Susan Silverman, or Mort Sahl, Shelly Berman, Bill Murray or Blue Man Group.

I ordered the Proust cookbook or whatever it is, not, I assure you, to make truffled pineapple salad but for the whole experience of food in the Belle Epoque. The January edition of Gourmet Magazine is devoted to Southern Food, and noted that Southern Food is the only food genre, so to speak, that the United States has produced. I daresay this excludes Tex Mex which is derivative, and Yankee Cooking which is not, per se, a whole cuisine but a collection of "dishes."

Last night I made crepes stuffed with chicken and mushrooms napped in a Mornay sauce with some white wine added, and let me tell you this is good and it even looked Christmasy with parseley and bits of pimento for the red and green.




Michael Leddy said...

Your description of passages that the reader has earned -- that's exactly it. The last volume works in that way -- almost all of it is like a tremendous reward for having come that far.

Do you know where to find a designated pineapple and truffle salad taster?

Grapeshot/Odette said...

Are you volunteering for duty as the pineapple and truffle salad taster?

Virtual or real?

We will need to procure some truffle juice.