Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Respite from Proust

Having finished (enfin) The Guermantes Way, I'm taking a break and finishing some other books languishing on my nightstand. One is Three Trapped Tigers, a cool book about Havana in the 50's right before Castro came to power. I'm almost through A Bright and Guilty Place, a non-fictional account of Los Angeles in the late 20's and early 30's. Corruption to the max.
Very interesting. I'm in the middle of Elmore Leonard's book of short stories, When the Women Come Out to Dance. Isn't that a great title.? Great stories, too. Anyone for baked possum?
I just finished Red Leaves, by Thomas Cook, a novel that will break your heart. I recall a few years ago when the novel was up for an Edgar Award.

Summer is the time for reading, although none of these books could be considered "beach reads." My novel is process now has 65,000 words and starts to look like a real book. I've been at it for a year. Had I been dedicated, I would have finished, but I'm also trying to find agents/publishers for three other novels, so that takes a toll of "free time," as well as all my writing groups and organizations.

It's a full life, Charlie. Who said that? No idea.

Let us imagine Marcel on the beach at Balbec, or in the dining room with his grandmother, or in town with the young girls in flower, or maybe even in Elstir's studio. Long ago, I recall resort hotels like the one in Balbec. One's bottle of wine and bottle of water on the table from previous meals, even one's napkin. Personally, I like a fresh napkin rather often. The same waiter, and pretty soon he knows one's likes and dislikes. Has that way of life vanished? I rather think so.

Everything very proper and even stylized. Last Year at Marienbad and all that jazz. We saw Mr Hulot's Holiday, which ages so well and had that same seaside flavor. I liked it ever so much, even the umpteenth time.




Jeremy ffrench Birmingham said...

"It's a full life, Charlie" is from a Jules feiffer cartoon originally published in the village voice, I seem to remember a smug man in dressing gown showing off his toys and in the end he says the famous phrase. The cartoon was a criticism of the consumer society. Born in the twenties of last century Mr Feiffer, I believe, is still alive and still working. Hope your question was not just rhetorical.

Grapeshot/Odette said...

Oh, was that Jules Feiffer? No idea. I had a couple friends back in the day who used that quote often. Another Feiffer we loved was two guys sitting across from each other with feet propped up on the coffee table, looking very relaxed. One says, "one of these days we've got to get organized." I still say that. This post was 3 years ago, and I did finish the book, Chased By Death, but haven't tried to sell it.

Jeremy ffrench Birmingham said...

That is the thing about internet, we can leave our mark very quickly and easily, but it stays, it is not like writing in the sand with a stick which will wash away, it is more like etching in stone. Three years or thirty, our words perdure, but at the same time it is the most ephemeral of mediums, once society crumbles and electricity fails and the nuclear power stations blow up there will be no way for future archeologists (presumably from another planet) to retrieve our information. Will try to catch up with your present self when I have some time, I can't quite remember what I was searching for when I came to this entry.
Un saludo