In remembrance of odours past

This morning’s Observer column.

Next month sees the 100th anniversary of the publication of Swann’s Way, the first volume of Marcel Proust’s masterpiece – Remembrance of Things Past (or, if you prefer DJ Enright’s translation, In Search of Lost Time). So stand by for what one expert calls a Proustathon. “Untold universities have planned at least one reading or round table dedicated to Proust. Every self-respecting bookstore will hold its own Proustathon, with authors, actors and book lovers reading snippets from his epic novel. The Centre for Fiction in New York has scheduled a Proust evening, and the French embassy is organising its own Proust occasion. There are Proust T-shirts, Proust coffee mugs, Proust watches, Proust comic series, Proust tote bags, Proust fountain pens and Proust paraphernalia of all stripes.”

As it happens, I’m reading Swann’s Way on a Kindle – which is more appropriate than you might think.