Within a Budding Grove post IV

It is inevitable this book will stretch into the weekend but to keep things going here are today’s highlights.

Bullet points for pages 700 – 782

* The story changes location from Paris to Balbec on the French coast and the narrotor travels down with his grandmother and Francoise, the housemaid, in a train to start his holiday

* In a break from arriving in Balbec and heading off on a branch line train to the seaside the narrator quickly walks round the town, which fills him with dissapointment, falling far short of his expectations of a beautiful town with a stunning church

* In the hotel there is a very sweet passage described as he communicates through a partition with his grandmother who wakes early to fetch him milk during a bout of illness

* He describes his surroundings and you can sense the fear of bein in a strange room with alien bits of furniture but he talks about the development of habit, something that dominates his life, can smooth over those concerns

“Habit which was even now setting to work to make me like this unfamiliar lodging, to change the position of the mirror, the shade of the curtains, to stop the clock…”pg721

* The idea of a change of scene might be a good one for normal people but the narrator admits that because of his neurotic naturemaybe it isn’t such a good idea putting him in an unusual situation – what saves him is the sea which calms and fascinates him

* To be honest things then get bogged down in a description of the social scene in the hotel, which is by no means as grand as Madame Swann’s in Paris but has the same snobbishness about it with gossips and wannabes

There are a couple of really understated comic moments involving the grandmother who firstly puts Francoise on the wrong train heading off miles in the wrong direction and then secondly while having lunch regrets missing out on the sea breeze and opens the hotel window allowing the wind to come in and send menus and newspapers flying everywhere

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