I can't believe we are almost at the end of the first month of the year already. I am so glad I started with a quick book, after not really reading for the past couple of years, it was a bit of a struggle to get back into it.
So let's get to it.
Book1. Review of Proust's Overcoat ( Author- Lorenza Foschini)
This is a slim, 120 page, hard backed book;bought recently for just 20pence from a charity shop. It contains several black and white photos and illustrations.
The book is set in France;from the1920's onwards, and is a true story of prejudice and lies, loves and obsessions. One might, from the book title, be forgiven for thinking this is a book about Proust, or even his overcoat, it is neither.
The main character is Jacques Guerin, from an early age a prolific businessman, and eventual head of a famous perfume house. He finds out that his doctor was the brother to, the deceased ,Marcel Proust. Although never to meet the great man, Jacques was drawn to him and so began a lifelong mission to collect and preserve all manner of items that had once belonged to the late author.
I found the beginning of the book very slow, to the point I almost gave up, but I am glad I persevered. The pace was never quick, more of a gentle stroll. We are teased with the copious amounts of name dropping, of places and stars of the period. We never find out much about any of the supporting characters, merely glimpses of their lives. The focus is always on Jacques.
It is at times quite melancholy, but also moving and always compelling.
Before reading this book I knew nothing of Proust, and now I find I still know very little about him, other than relations with his family were never easy, and it seemed he lived a solitary life. After his death his remaining family members attempted to destroy all his belongings. This is where Jacques became a self titled saviour, ingratiating himself with the family he was able to save many items.
It seems that Jacques and Marcel shared many similarities, both passionate about their work, both had compulsive natures, and both homosexual.
The book title does not become clear until almost the end of the book, when Jacques acquires his final trophy.
Did I enjoy this book? Well that is hard to say. I am glad that I read it, it is neither deeply informative nor wildly entertaining. However it dripped enough little nuggets of information to leave me asking questions, wondering and wanting to know more about not just Proust, but also the places mentioned and the other characters. While the subject matter is not one that I would actively go looking for, I found it on the whole a lovely little book.
Here is my artwork. I decided to go with journal pages. I plan to keep adding to this journal even after the challenge year ends.
As the book is set in the 20's I looked to that time period for colours and patterns as inspiration. First I added a small envelope in the corner and then used spray inks, and also used an alpha stencil. (Stencil and sprays from Art from the Heart )
Next I drew,coloured and cut out a green carnation. At one time there was a huge fashion for wearing different coloured flowers, all of which had different meanings. Oscar Wilde started wearing a green carnation, and it was assumed to symbolize his sexual preferences. I wanted to include something in the background which referenced that both main characters were gay without it being a prominent image. Their lifestyle choices are not prominent in the book, but for one of them it did cause a lot of hatred and sadness.
I added it to the page ..
and then knocked back the colour with white acrylic...I also added a stamp of a man to the pocket. ( Stamp from PaperArtsy ) and some text stamp to the background.
Next I added wall filler, through a stencil that is meant to be a peacock pattern. This pattern was used a lot in that time period. Once the wall filler was dry I painted it with acrylic paints.
I then doodled around the wall filler textured pattern. I just love using wall filler, it dries so quick and gives great texture.
I printed out my review and popped it into the envelope.
Finally I added images of perfume bottles and hat boxes, these are all referenced in the book. I also printed out a love poem that is in the book and used that as the journalling on the page.
The title is 'travail d'amour' which means a labour of love. The jobs and passions undertaken by both men in the book were definately a labour of love for them.
SO THIS IS WHERE YOU LINK UP...
please add your name and the link to the specific blog post where your review and artwork can be found. then check back later as the list grows and go visit people.
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