The UK Guardian is running a series of articles on Books that Changed Your Life and I wanted to contribute but with no success. I think I am fairly competent with computers but I could not make their Blue Button work for me so I commented in another section which is naughty but anyone who knows me realises that for all my conventional appearance I have always been a rebel. Here is my contribution.
Sorry to have to use this comments section but I should love to contribute to The Books that Changed my Life but I am unable to do so. Every time I click the blue button which states Add your contribution here so enticingly I get taken to a page that states You are already signed in and suggests I GO Back which takes me straight to the Guardian Home Page!
What do I do? Maybe I should add my contribution here? Why not because it is not going to be added anywhere else.
I did enjoy Fraser's choice. Stratchey is fun and naughty in juvenile way but it is a pity she did not explore a bit further on her parent's secret bookshelf as she might have come across a book or a set of books that is far more juicy and exciting and I think should be compulsory reading for every 16 year old convent educated school girl.
You will have guessed by now that I am talking of A la recherche du temps perdu Remembrance of Time Past and the magnificent Marcel Proust.
I did not read it when I was 16 and that is a pity because when I did it changed my life. I tried it when I was 28 with no success. This is a book that should not be read from the beginning.
Later in my 40's on hot summer afternoon's in New Zealand I delved into it again and life has never been the same again. I have lived my life in the theatre and I have never understood my gay friends as being a woman I was never included. It was obvious gays had more fun and Marcel being very gay himself describes just what it is like to be a gay man and he does it with sympathy and brilliantly.
I understood my gay friends at last. They were just like me! I now treat them like my girl friends and they do have more fun only I am a rival for the love of a man. I have what they never can achieve or so Marcel says.
But that was just one tiny section. The way Proust describes the demise of The French Society at the turn of the century in three parties and a train journey. The breath taking brilliance of his wit. I can never decide what to do ...it is always the question of the summer dress! I have a Monet' said the Duke 'It hangs in my wife's bedroom so I never see it!' or words to the effect. The long sentences that go on forever but you never notice unless you look.
So Lady Antonia would have found that Proust is superb commentator on European history and a superb example of a fine writer. The night in Paris in 1918 is not to be missed!
So there you are. If you haven't read Proust don't be scared. It is the thinking man's Coronation Street and is not meant to be read in one go.
Sorry to have to put this here but what else can one do?