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The Year of Reading Proust: A Memoir in Real Time
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The Year of Reading Proust: A Memoir in Real Time

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  86 ratings  ·  20 reviews
A brilliant and original memoir of midlife-a writing life, a reading life, a woman's life-by the distinguished author of Parallel Lives
Phyllis Rose, a biographer, essayist, and literary critic, finally got around to reading Proust in middle age. As Rose learned, you don't have to live through an unhappy childhood or celebrity adulthood to write an autobiography. You just n
Paperback, 272 pages
Published December 23rd 1999 by Counterpoint (first published 1997)
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Read this(1997) and when we went off to Belgium(1998), I took the latest 6-volume Proust along figuring I could read in in the one to two years we were to be there. I did well but we were there five years and only began Vol. VI -- then it languished until last year(2006) when there was some instigation on Constant Reader to form a Proust group under the Classics Corner conference -- and so we read and discussed and this month(Sept 2007, after our move to the Goodreads site) began our final volum ...more
Catherine  Mustread
Disappointing! If you're looking for a memoir by Phyllis Rose, author of several books, then this is the book for you. The connection with Marcel Proust is so slight – a tiny bit at the beginning and a few pages at the end – that I would not recommend it to anyone interested only in the Proust angle. Interesting literary trivia is that Ms. Rose is married to Laurent De Brunhoff of Babar fame, and there are lots of references to authors and books. In fact a 12 page list of "Recommended Reading" i ...more
I want to start off by recommending The Year of Reading Proust: A Memoir in Real Time, Phyllis Rose's account of her experience of reading the great work after years of stalling early on in the oeuvre. I'm starting with that because my responses to the work were so ambivalent and complicated that I'm not sure how this review will sound or if it will seem to be a recommendation. So I'm stating up front that I'm glad I read Rose's highly intelligent account of her life in the light of times past a ...more
I have a feeling I won't enjoy reading Proust (too verbose, too exacting, too droning on and on), so this might be as close as I come. I found the book on a whim looking for another book at the library, so I hope to finish in 3 weeks before it's due back. Wish me luck!
Thoughts whilst reading:

I'm in some kind of process of mentally prepping myself to read Proust's eleventy volumes of navel-gazing, and I'm thinking if I go in armed with some pre-existing insights, maybe I'll be able to mediate my tendency to get distracted a little better when I get around to reading In Remembrance....

This little book though, wow. Every page has made me want to throw it into the mouth of a hydra. If I can't even put up with the flowery real-time thoughts of Phyllis, Proust has
Kathie Harper
After spending more than two years reading Proust, I was interested in hearing an esteemed literary critic's view of the same experience. There were some worthy insights, like in the last chapter but I wanted her to dig deeper, reveal more about herself, not just the day-to-day happenings of disgruntled neighbors, the numerous false alarms of her mother's hospitalizations, and students picking flowers from her garden at Wesleyan. Yes, I presume you could make the argument that they are Proustian ...more
Sep 07, 2007 Lisa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people
Phyllis Rose is a great writer. I picked this book up in a used book store when I wanted to read Swann's Way but couldn't find it. Very pleasantly surprised.
Some year I will also find the time to read Proust (well, probably not, but it seems like a noble goal.)
Lee Kofman
Rose is a very interesting thinker but the problem with her having written a memoir is that her life is so boring. Or perhaps she’s just too guarded to tell the interesting bits. Instead, she writes about her haircuts, her son (who never has any issues by the sound of it) and her choice of a car... But she’s definitely wise when it comes to discussing political or literary matters. I think she'd have done much better if she wrote a series of essays about her love of Proust instead of tying readi ...more
Steve Turtell
This was delightful. My own experience of Proust was more relaxed--it took me ten years from the time I began at the age of 16, till I finished the summer I was 26. But by reading it all in one year, Rose has been able to observe the interconnections between the novels more than I did at first (I've since re-read all of it several times) and her reaction to one section about the narrator's grief over the death of Albertine made me want to reread it although I swore I never would.

The most moving
Carol Reid
I loved this book because, like the author, I have been reading the 6 volumes of Proust's In Search of Lost Time (1 to go) and she refers to and comments on many parts of these books. Rose is a non-fiction writer herself and finds through Proust's masterpiece inspiration and insight. The tone of the book is conversational as Rose describes aspects of her life: family, marriages, friendships, writing, vacations, job as professor, authors and places admired, etc.
I chose this book because I found it used and because I also thought of using at least a year to read Proust, it took me less, but I was pleased to discover the thoughts of this writer about it. Clearly there is little Proust and much of her life in this book, but there are significant connections that she makes between what happens to her and the way that Proust had to face the same problems. For lovers of the genre.

Ho scelto questo libro perché l'ho trovato usato e perché pensavo anche io di m
At turns poignant, funny, catty, engaging, pretentious, and literary, I found this memoir of Rose--with only minimal examination of Proust's work as a backdrop to her own experiences--both fascinating and alienating. While I found her writing strong and smart, I also found the representations of her literary circle exhausting in their ambition and drama. I enjoyed it, but discovered that I had zero interest in wanting to be part of the who's who literary crowd. I did, however, get a great number ...more
I love to read about what authors like to read, because what they've read helped them to develop as writers. It's also interesting to "hear" how a book or group of books influenced soomeone's life. Rose's reading of Proust helped her to realize that life isn't always about rushing to do the "next thing", but that savoring the moment, however mundane the moment, brings more joy to life. I think that's a good lesson to learn.
I was a little disappointed in reading Ms. Rose's autobiographical sketch, which had few of her keen observations, she is noted for in her great biographies (see Virginia Woolf and Josephine Baker). I think her observations about reading Proust would have made an excellent Book Club on Goodreads. Of note, I learned out to officially say the authors name (proos). Make your lips into a big "O" when saying it.
I figured reading this book would be easier than, well, reading Proust. The associations are very subtle; it's mostly a memoir with Proust-inspired reflections. Loved the author's writing style, and I will definitely read more of her books.
Jacob Russell
Disappointing. She should have stuck to writing about Proust, which seems to have been the most interesting thing she did that year.
Mar 10, 2007 clara rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: someone bored
it was okay...not a total loss...
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Phyllis Rose is an American literary critic, essayist, biographer, and educator.
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