Friday, October 26, 2012

A Curious Invitation: The Forty Greatest Parties In Literature

An intriguing book has flown into my radar.  Suzette Field's A Curious Invitation . . .  arrived right before we left for Los Angeles on a research trip for my own work in process novel.  Significant Other grabbed it and read it the entire  time we were away, and I am just now getting to it. 

Of course the first chapter in A Curious Invitation that  I read was about Proust's account of the Marquise de Saint-Euverte's Musical  Soiree in Swann's Way.  If you have read this blog at all, you know I frequently get bogged down in Proust's parties, but his writing about the Marquises's party is absolutely sprightly, with spot on characterizations and comments about the guests.   Oh the snobbery!  The jockeying for social position!  The servants!  The music! 

And guess what "little phrase" Swann hears just as he is itching to get out of there and head back home to find out news of Odette?  Vinteiul's little phrase, of course. 

The Curious Invitation's description of the party is also spot on. And this soiree is not as long as many of the parties in Proust, perhaps because Swann is so impatient to leave.  I love these books (both Proust and  A Curious Invitation) and you will hear more about them when I get my own dinner party out of the way this evening (no live music and very little snobbery).  There is also a book signing tomorrow at the Boston Book Festival.  I will be in the Sister's In Crime booth signing World of Mirrors.

Then it's back to Proust's party where we will dig the dirt, as it were, and on to some more "marvelous parties" in A Curious Invitation.  Reading about the various parties brought back a few I remember.  Seventh Floor Adolphus in Dallas before the Cotton bowl, and some high school blasts in McCarthy's basement.  When did I grow so mature and even . . staid?  Great party, by the way, at Santa Anita race track in the Turf Club Saturday afternoon.  The "dress code" brings out the best. A very lively crowd, friendly, too.

Even if the blasted hurricane comes up the East Coast, we'll have the 40 Greatest Parties, Proust and an assemblage of hurricane lanterns and lamps to read by. 

More anon,


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Would Proust Have Won?

The McArthur genius grants have just been awarded, and two novelists were selected.  Junot Diaz and Dinaw Mengestu Win $500,000 Genius Grants.

Do you think Proust would have  qualified?  I do.  With his great work, he did something no one has done before or since.  The characters, the settings, the stories, the words, his subtle humor.  Think about it.  Proust was truly a genius.