Beat the carpets later!
- Lettres à sa voisine by Marcel Proust, edited by Estelle Gaudry and Jean-Yves Tadié
Gallimard, 86 pp, £11.40, October 2013, ISBN 978 2 07 014224 8
‘It’s really a miniature novel,’ we read in the introduction to this collection of Marcel Proust’s newly discovered letters, ‘C’est un vrai petit roman.’ It’s such a perfect novel that it looks like a hoax. Twenty-six letters from Proust to his upstairs neighbours at 102 boulevard Haussmann, none of the letters heard of before, many of them complaining about the noise: how could this not be a parody? And isn’t it too broad a stroke to make the husband a dentist? The wife a delicate, suffering lady who plays the harp? Please.