Early in the year of 2005, I began reading what I had heard was one of the greatest works of literature in the 20th century, In Search of Lost Time (previously translated as Remembrance of Things Past), by Marcel Proust. My main impetus for reading it was that my husband, Rod and I had finally decided to take our long-desired trip to Paris in the spring of that year. So being the reader that I am, I decided to prepare myself by reading French authors like Zola, Hugo, Colette and Voltaire. And, of course, Proust. Of the seven volumes comprising In Search of Lost Time , I had heard also that it was not an easy read and that many people who began the novel, never finished, for various reasons: the famously long and convoluted sentences, the pages of seemingly unrelated and trivial events, the sheer size of the work and the resulting concentration of mind and investment of time required. But I was determined to read the entire novel and set myself the task of doing so, despite what I had heard. But the task soon became a pleasure, and the more I read the more I wanted to read, until what began as an assignment to myself of reading Proust before going to Paris became a sincere appreciation of the work, a deep interest in the author, and a greater understanding of what made this work truly one of the greats of literature.
I am utterly intrigued and fascinated. We travelled so spontaneously that I never thought to do something like this prior to going but I will adopt a different approach if I head of on another adventure.