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am 19. Juni 2000
A reviewer wrote- "I'ts hard to imagine how Proust can change your life if you don't actually read Proust". That is true, but then on the other hand, never, while reading this book, did I get the impression that Alain de Botton was trying to replace Proust. I don't think he was trying to offer a guide to Proust, nor trying to write literary criticism or anything like that: After finishing the book, the impression I got was that this is more a self-help book (and quite a witty and funny one, actually, much better than the usual saccharine-sweet self help books) and less a book about Proust. The good thing is that "How Proust can change your life" will probably give you an appetite for more Marcel Proust...and that has to do with the clarity and lightness of touch with which de Botton writes: you can't resist his admiration for Proust, even though you might have objections to the way he chose to express this admiration: but then who says that books about philosophy or about literature have to be dead serious and heavy? I think Alain de Botton has written an original book, a book that's a kind of experiment, as it combines self-help insights with good literature and important ideas. If you read this as such, as an interesting experiment which may bring more people to Proust, then you won't really be able to find any fault in the book.
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