Event

Proust as Infusion: A Conversation with Catherine Cusset & Hilary Reyl

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With Catherine Cusset and Hilary Reyl
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Monday, June 4, 2018
7:00 PM

IN ENGLISH. FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. NO RSVP NECESSARY.

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With Catherine Cusset and Hilary Reyl

***PLEASE NOTE THAT DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER, THIS CONVERSATION IS RE-SCHEDULED TO MONDAY, JUNE 4 AT 7PM.***

The seductive power of a novel such as The Search lies in its personal invitation to each of us to read Marcel’s Life as if we, and not Marcel, were its true subjects.(André Aciman, The Proust Project).

Join Catherine Cusset and Hilary Reyl for a discussion about Proust and empathy in their respective novels, L’autre qu’on adorait (Gallimard) and Kids Like Us (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Their protagonists are Thomas, a scholar of French literature who wrote a dissertation on Proust and kills himself at 39, the age at which Proust embarked on his literary journey, and Martin, a sixteen year-old boy on the autistic spectrum for whom Swann’s Way is a filter for reality. Both young men confuse art and experience in ways that prove tragic and beautiful.

Thomas knows In Search of Lost Time almost by heart and constantly evoques the author who has “thought, felt, and said everything.” Unlike Proust, he’s needs to earn his life and is prone to gaffes that cost him various jobs. Like Proust, though, he knows that there are two kinds of time: one social, and one esthetic. “If you love Proust, it’s for his fundamental intuition: true life lies in the fragments of time that escape time.”

Martin, whose French father introduced him to Proust as a sort of therapy to help him understand a confusing world, has adopted it quite literally. Like Swann comparing places and friends to works of art, Martin compares his own life, and specifically his first love, to Proust’s text. “You might say I walk around in a prison. But at least it’s a prison that moves, not some cage stuck in one spot. I’m surrounded by Search the way most people are surrounded by their own souls.”

In English. Free and open to the public. No RSVP necessary.


Catherine Cusset is an award-winning French novelist and the author of thirteen bestselling novels published by Gallimard and translated into sixteen languages. L’autre qu’on adorait (which she would translate “The Friend We Loved”) was a finalist for the Goncourt Prize in 2016. Her most recent novel, Vie de David Hockney, received the Anaïs Nin award in 2018 and is forthcoming in English. She lives in New York City.

Hilary Reyl has a PhD in French literature with a focus in the 19th Century. Her first novel, Lessons in French, a coming of age story set in Paris in 1990, was published by Simon and Schuster in 2011. Kids Like Us, from Farrar Straus and Giroux, is her first young adult novel. She lives in New York City.

Monday, June 4, 2018
7:00 PM

IN ENGLISH. FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. NO RSVP NECESSARY.

SHARE ON