For anyone who ever wondered what Marcel Proust had in mind when he wrote the one-and-a-quarter-million words of In Search of Lost Time (while bedridden no less), Alain de Botton has the answer. For, in this stylish, erudite and frequently hilarious book, de Botton dips deeply into Proust's life and work - his fiction, letters, and conversations - and distils from them that rare self-help manual: one that is actually helpful.
Here, tendered in prose almost as luminous as its subject's, is advice on cultivating friendships, suffering successfully, recognising love, and understanding why you should never sleep with someone on the first date. And here, too, is a generously perceptive literary biography that suggests that the master is as relevant today as he was in fin de siècle Paris.
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Very practical philosophy
- P K