Within a Budding Grove post VII

I have just finished Within a Budding Grove and am going to head off to bed because it is late and provide a full review probably tomorrow of the first two volumes in Remembrance of Things Past

Bullet points between pages 907 – 1018

* Adding to the feeling that the social world the narrator is living in is very small it turns out that Elstir the artist not only has a picture of Odette Swann in his collection but he is the same artist who used to frequent the gatherings organised by the Verdurin’s

* Elstir has one use though and that is to introduce the narrator to the girls, in particular Albertine the ringleader and although he is close to her he seems to have yearnings for each of them in turn

* The artist’s enthusiasm for the sea is infectious and the narrator is moved to focus on the beauty and magnificence of the sea and the cliffs

* He concentrates all of his time on the girls and lets his friendship with Saint-Loup lapse and spurns the social company of his grandmother and her friends

* After going around with a couple of the girls he settles on Albertine and falls in love with her and she invites him back to her room in the hotel but as he goes to kiss her she warns him she will ring the bell and as he ignores her she does and proves that she is not going to be an easy conquest

* He then spends some time describing Albertine’s financial situation explaining that she often has to rely on the support of others because her family is not well off

* In an exchange he asks why she wouldn’t let him kiss her and she explains it has to do with her morals and that he shouldn’t have asked but betrays the jealously she feels over his relationships with some of her friends

* The narrator realises that he had found in the faces of the girls the things he wanted to find which weren’t necessarily there and things start to end with Albertine going back to Paris and then one by one the friends disappearing leaving him alone in Balbec

* The hotel is getting ready to close for the winter and the Balbec chapter is coming to an end and he packs up and leaves the resort for a return to Paris ending a stay of three months by the sea

The description remains vibrant right until the end and it is impossible to step away from the vivid pictures Proust paints not just of the sea, the hotel but the people that populate the story.

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