Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Duke and the Duchesse

I picked up Proust again, and read and read and am still at Mme. Villeparisis party with Marcel and Bloch and the hostess and the Duke and the Duchesse of Guermantes. The Duke (Basin) arrived and manuevered through the drawing room with his hand held out at his side "like a shark's fin." What a great image. Of course the couple didn't arrive together. She is furious about his infidelities, as naturally a proud duchesse would be. He is still handsome. Oriane and Basin. What a couple.

What a masterful writer! And how the Duchesse disses St. Loup's (her nephew's) mistress. It's interesting how we get various sides, wholly opposite of the mistress/actress. She is dumb. She is smart. She is pretty. She is ugly. She can act. She can't. Hmmm. What is going on here?

And good old Bloch is as clueless as ever, and we find out who Mme. Villeparisis love is, in a clever aside by the author.

I like it ever so much, and even if I only read a page or two (and who can claim to have raced through Proust?) it's well worth while.

I may take the book on vacation with me. A car trip, and therefore a thick hardcover is not such a liability.

So, children, I haven't posted because I tend my garden, and have begun a new novel, not what I expected to write, au contraire, and we had houseguests and dinner guests, and well, yanno, pretty soon the weeks have taken wing and here we are in eeek, August, the month of Vacances.

When all the Paris restaurants are ferme. Mon Dieu. But not Chicago restaurants. I noticed, in a persusal of the guidebook, that Chicago has many more French restaurants than Boston, where French cuisine is practically an endangered species. O.K., there's a few. Damn few. Boston is for seafood and Italian and whatever.

Of course the guidebook stated some pretty eye-popping prices. Better to be at the little evenings of the Verdurins, or better yet, much better, at Balbec on the beach, in the hotel dining room, at one's fixed table, and bicycling with the little band. Ah! Summer!


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