Here, tendered in prose almost as luminous as its subject’s, is advice on cultivating friendships, suffering successfully, recognising love, and understanding why you should never sleep with someone on the first date. And here, too, is a generously perceptive literary biography that suggests that the master is as relevant today as he was in fin de siècle Paris.
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By Lord Copper on 11-01-17
Prose at its most elegant, beautifully performed
If you could sum up How Proust Can Change Your Life in three words, what would they be?
Witty, elegant, affecting
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Of all the audiobooks I have downloaded, this is the one I return to again and again. It's a clever book, written by a master of supremely elegant yet unnaffected prose, enhanced by its competent and non-irritating narrator. It isn't a self-help book in the true sense, thank goodness, although it encourages one to reflect on how one lives. I also learnt a lot about Proust the writer and the man, and I wish that I could go back in time and spend an evening in his evidently delightful company. Bravo Mr de Botton.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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By Marie-Claude on 17-08-12
Good book, well read, with just one remark
I own both the print and audio versions of this book and as a Proust fan, I enjoyed reading both. I like Nicholas Bell's lively rendition of the text very much but, as a French native speaker, I regret that he didn't research the pronunciation of French last names (or chose not to bother with it) before embarking on the project. It is weird to hear the 'n' and the 's' pronounced in "Guermantes" for instance or the 'p' pronounced in "Loup". It is a bit as if in a French audio version of Bill Clinton's biography, his name was pronounced the French way, with the "in" and the "on" treated as nasal vowels. Not a biggie but it bothered me, maybe because Proust's writing is so musical, even in English, and because the reading is so good otherwise...
20 of 21 people found this review helpful
By Darwin8u on 20-02-13
A nice petite primer on Proust
A nice petite primer on Proust. It travels similar ground as Bakewell's How to Live: A Life of Montaigne, Bryson's Shakespeare: The World as Stage, and even Wright's The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are. These books are not quite biography, not quite self help, but books that use the respective author's life/work/time as a peep stone into our own world.
Don't be distracted by De Botton's hyperbolic title. Neither he nor Proust is claiming any special power to change your life, but what they are trying to do is simply write something that will be read, perhaps appreciated. In the end they might even hope to deliver something that will be give their readers hints of how to live, how to love, how to suffer, and how to slow down and SEE the world.
25 of 27 people found this review helpful