proust as character

“Believe it or not, Philippe Besson’s In the Absence of Men, a short novel in the terse style of the late Marguerite Duras, has Marcel Proust as the father of an illegitimate son born to a prostitute in the first year of the 20th century. The son, now a French soldier on a short leave from fighting in World War I, is passionately in love with the narrator, a 16-year-old boy named Vincent, who returns the soldier’s lust and then, after a very sexy week, believes him to be the love of his life.” Read Rick Whitaker’s review of In the Absence of Men in the Washington Post. Hint: He didn’t like it.

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