Saturday, February 2, 2013
The Soothing Balm of Elegance
I haven't read a lot of French authors, they have mostly been limited to Dumas, Voltaire and Hugo... I haven't built up the courage yet to give Proust a try but after reading this I really wanted to (even the Moliere and the Rabelais that has been living at the bottom of my book basket for a few years).
There are two protagonists in this story one of which loves her literature, in particular Tolstoy (a love which we share), so I feel like I really 'got' her (you don't know how lonely it can be when no-one you know likes the books that you like). I have been a huge fan of Tolstoy since I read War and Peace when I was fifteen, and Anna Karenin when I was twenty. The book quotes from Karenin quite a bit, and I was just tickled pink with each reference. It made me just want to stop what I was doing and grab my own copy and read it again... right now!
Enter protagonist number two who was surprisingly astute and relevant. Add in another new character , with a different culture, and the magic that happens with this third person, the pleasure in seeing everything evolve the way it did was precious (but I can't say anything more without giving away spoilers and we don't want that!) It was more than just a fusion of culture, but of like-minded people, making an important connection that transcends, race, age and sex. This combination of French, Russian and Japanese culture was exciting and refreshing, and I feel truly lucky to have this book. I look forward to re-reading it again at some point, perhaps after I have read some of the literature mentioned to see how it would alter my experience.