Delhi Proustians – Finding Marcel, Near Santi Giovanni, Venice
The Italian Proust.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
There he was. All of him.
One afternoon The Delhi Walla was browsing at the Libreria Acqua Alta bookstore on Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa. The famous shop is near the Church of Santi Giovanni in Venice. Only a few customers were present. The black cat was seated on the cash counter, as always. It was raining outside.
The bookstore has selections in Italian, French, German, Spanish and English languages. While walking past the Italian shelves, I spotted a boxed set. It showed a golden-haired woman reading a book. The title underneath the portrait said:
del tempo perduto
The box had seven hardbounds. One was titled La strada di Swann.
There was no doubt. This was the Italian translation of Proust’s great French novel, À la recherche du temps perdu. This year in Delhi I finished reading its English translation In Search of Lost Time—for the second time.
Now, thousands of miles away in this watery city, which, incidentally, was Proust’s dream city, I was again united with Marcel. And Venice became home.
Marcel, is that you!