I hate Proust. I suppose it isn’t really fair to him – his long-winded stream-of-conciousness-esque prose was to me a far cry from the the Hugos, the Camus, the Stendhals, the Molières of my undergraduate French lit degree. Before Proust, I was not aware that one sentence could be so relentlessly long. Reading Proustian prose made me feel as if I were wading through warm molasses- a sticky uphill battle that I wasn’t sure was worth the effort… But Proust… perhaps more than any other author I’ve ever read, stays with me.
One Night in Paris is a charming article written by Susan Kurosawa about a night when all of Paris hotels were booked solid and her and her partner had little to do. Instead of sulking about their misfortune, or skipping Paris altogether, they decide to dine at a snazzy Parisian restaurant (chef Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athenee).
‘Perhaps tomorrow we should go to Switzerland,’ Jane said, at about ten o’clock one random evening. At first, my equally skeptical friend Jacob and I both assumed she was kidding. When it was clear she wasn’t, we shrugged our shoulders and said, pourquoi pas ?. So the next day we found ourselves on the way to the Swiss border.
I changed my mind then with a firmness and determination that I had not thought myself capable of possessing- I would study French because come hell or high water, I knew I had to come back. French blood may not run through my veins as such, but the country called to me in a way I could have never before imagined.