Céleste Albaret was Marcel Proust’s housekeeper in his last years, when he retreated from the world to devote himself to In Search of Lost Time. She could imitate his voice to perfection, and Proust himself said to her, “You know everything about me.” Her reminiscences of her employer present an intimate picture of the daily life of a great writer who was also a deeply peculiar man, while Madame Albaret herself proves to be a shrewd and engaging companion.
Published in 1973, Monsieur Proust is a remarkable evocation of the spiritual sacrifices and flashes of grace that inform genius and those who serve it.
— Hilton Als, The New Yorker
the housekeeper’s indispensable 1973 memoir
— Benjamin Strong, The Village Voice
A fond and winning picture of the daily life of a great writer and reclusive man, with his foibles, worries and kindnesses. This alluring volume is as close as we can come to meeting Marcel Proust in person.
— Sunday Telegraph
Monsieur Proust is moving, often unwittingly funny, [and it conveys] something of the fabulous quality of an existence literally held in thrall by Proust. The book is rich in concrete and, one feels, authentic details that give an unprecedented and entertaining picture of Proust’s daily life.
— Germaine Brée, The New Republic
…[a ] marvelous and compelling document…
— Claire Messud, New York Newsday