I’m going back to Proust this August. The truly long read is a summer treat | Alex Clark

Short hits might seem preferable to vast narratives, but stories that take time to absorb offer special pleasures

Another summer, and another assault on the unscaled mountains of literature. Having woefully failed at 2017’s attempt on Henry James, who fell foul of a sudden addiction to his sleuthier cousin PD, I’m once again preparing to tackle Proust, courtesy of a 50th birthday present of a beautiful boxed set of In Search of Lost Time. Thank God I shan’t be doing it alone, but in the company of novelist Susan Hill, who explained in last week’s Spectator Diary that, having got so far and no further on multiple previous occasions, she too was going back in. She is now on Book 5, and I salute her.

Perhaps if we succeed, we can meet up, together with other Marcel completists, and debate the merits of the essay by Perry Anderson that recently ...