Monday, April 26, 2010

Bringing books to their perfect readers

Marcel Proust the great French novelist and philosopher, once said, in reality, every reader is, while he is reading, the reader of his own self...and the recognition by the reader in his own self of what the book says is the proof it its veracity.This is an axiom that underlies not just the best novels but also the ideal reader, who can confirm the best and the worst of his or her life through the experience of reading a good novel. In The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a novel that comes more than a century after Proust's observation, the protagonist observes that perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.Thanks to Proust, we can understand why this particular book finds all its perfect readers, affirming as it does the best parts of being human, and that too against the backdrop of an inhuman war.

It is 1946, and the island of Guernsey, the only part of England that was actually under German occupation during the Second World War, is slowly putting itself back together. A spirited London journalist, Juliet Ashton, decides to visit the island in response to an odd assortment of letters that she gets from members of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Juliet is intrigued in the first instance by the Society's name and then by a letter from Dawsey Adams, a vegetable and pig farmer. In that letter, Dawsey asks her about a book by Charles Lamb because he chances upon her name in a second hand book that he bought in Guernsey. Delighted to find that like her he is passionate about books, she learns about the extraordinary circumstances that led to the founding of the Society, and then decides to travel to Guernsey to find out more, in the hopes of perhaps even writing about it. Juliet soon finds that she is inexorably drawn into the lives of these remarkable people.

Full report here Hindu

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