The Guermantes Way, Marcel Proust

It is in this volume, of course, that the Narrator's grandmother perishes, and so we spend much time meditating on the pitfalls of living in the skin we're in: 

It is in sickness that we are compelled to recognize that we do not live alone but are chained to a being from a different realm, from whom we are worlds apart, who has no knowledge of us and by whom it is impossible to make ourselves understood: our body.

Another important theme is the Narrator's evolving appreciation of art, and by extension his maturation as a person:

To succeed thus in gaining recognition, the original painter or the original writer proceeds on the lines of the oculist. The course of treatment they give us by their painting or by their prose is not always pleasant. When it is at an end the practitioner says to us: ‘Now look!’ And, lo and behold, the world around us (which was not created once and for all, but is created afresh as often as an original artist is born) appears to us entirely different from the old world, but perfectly clear.

Halfway through In Search of Lost Time , now; onward, onward!

 

Within a Budding Grove, Marcel Proust

My progress on In Search of Lost Time continues unabated; at turns I find the prose difficult, and then I am swept up in the beauty of his words and find that I've raced through hundreds of pages. I don't have much to say that hasn't already been said, and so I leave you with a thought from Proust on why solitude is essential to artistic creation:

We may talk for a lifetime without doing more than indefinitely repeat the vacuity of a minute ...

Reminiscent, really, of Susan Cain's book on introversion.