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By Lorenza Foschini

“A infrequent and fantastically written ebook of literary detection that's heartbreaking in addition to thrilling.”
—Michael Ondaatje, writer of The English Patient

 

In the culture of Simon Winchester’s The Professor and the Madman comes Proust’s Overcoat by means of Lorenza Foschini—the charming, eternally interesting tale of a collector’s obsessive look for the non-public results of mythical writer Marcel Proust. This attention-grabbing precise tale introduces readers to a very pleasant character—Jacques Guérin, proprietor of a body spray corporation in France—and enthralls them along with his relentless lifelong pursuit of all issues Proustian, even the author’s so much mundane possessions.

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This was once a Mme Fournier, who lived in a small house now not faraway from the clinic the place Robert operated. On a minimum of one party, in the course of the conflict, Robert made his brother complicit during this association, regarding Marcel in a transaction to get Mme Fournier a amount of money whereas he was once nonetheless on the entrance. In a letter written in 1917 to their mother’s good friend Mme Catusse, Marcel colours his document of this episode with an amused and boastful tone: rather remarkably, i will be able to provide you with firsthand information of Robert, who wrote to me for the 1st time in six months, simply because whereas he's dutiful, he's whilst crushed, by means of either paintings and laziness. He’s effective. however the nature of what introduced him to write down to me days in the past may larger stay a mystery among us, and so please don't allow directly to my sister-in-law that I bought a letter from her husband. due to the fact I by no means see Marthe, i believe no compunction to stay silent. A complicity concerning extracurricular affairs of the guts (as universal now as then, doubtless) existed among the brothers, even though Proust absolutely knew he may possibly by no means count on reciprocity in this account from Robert. He could by no means have dared to infringe upon the family’s respectability. Marthe definitely knew approximately her husband’s infidelity, and she or he used to be additionally good conscious of her brother-in-law’s proclivities. in the course of Proust’s lifetime, her rapport with him was once characterised through a chilly politeness. while, in November 1906, Marthe’s little one daughter, Suzy, shriveled diphtheria, Proust wrote to his brother approximately his niece: “It pains me to think about this baby, in whom i love to imagine a bit of of Mama and Papa lives on, beginning lifestyles so unfortunately. ” while he telephoned Marthe to relay his issues approximately Suzy’s , she spoke back “with an over the top brevity,” which frustrated him. “She’s really nice, regardless of her humorlessness,” he wrote to Mme Catusse approximately Marthe, yet extra, “though it's precise, with out understanding it, i will be unpleasant to the nth measure. ” Marthe’s marriage used to be a depressing failure: Robert had different girls in his lifestyles and had controlled to run via not just his enormous inheritance, but additionally her personal large relatives assets. whilst Robert died, Marthe used to be left in severe monetary straits. She nurtured a continual indignation opposed to the 2 brothers that over the years festered into hate. With either brothers now useless, Marthe was firm to spoil any and all strains left of her brother-in-law: papers, books, intimate and loved goods. As for the furnishings, it was once as though those items published in her resentments that had by no means sooner than surfaced explicitly. In 1906, after either mom and dad had died, Marcel, elderly thirty-five, ultimately moved out of his family’s huge rue de Courcelles residence. lengthy and wearisome negotiations concerning the distribution of Jeanne and Adrien Proust’s furnishings started. The brothers exchanged letters that have been cordial yet now not with no reproach: “Keep what you will have, placed the remaining in storage,” wrote Robert, exasperated. Marcel felt that his brother’s refusal to take his percentage of the furnishings positioned a monetary burden on him, since it intended he couldn't flow right into a smaller condominium: “You pressured me into arranging my charges, my investments, my existence differently.

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