How Proust Can Change Your Life
By Alain de Botton
(Pantheon Books, Hardcover, 9780679442752, 160pp.)
Publication Date: April 1997
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Alain de Botton's three novels (all published since 1993) have received rapturous praise from critics and writers alike, but nothing he has done before has prepared us for this, his first work of nonfiction. Who would have thought that Marcel Proust -- one of the twentieth century's acknowledged literary masters and great eccentrics-would have had such acute insight into subjects ranging from vacations and the importance of being a good host to sex on the first date (he's against it) and recognizing true love. It took de Botton to find the inspirational in Proust's essays, letters, and fiction and, perhaps even more surprising, to draw out a vivid and clarifying portrait of the master from between the lines of his work.
Here is Proust as we have never seen or read him before: with an intelligent, uniquely witty, and always tasteful '90s makeover.