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A Proustian experience
on 17 December 2010
An odd title for a review perhaps, but anyone who has read any Proust, will be empathic to the idea of "being" and not "doing" in life. So many tourist books outline the things that "you must do", which if followed to the letter leaves me exhausted both physically and emotionally.
This collection of short essays provides me with the emotional colour of Amsterdam. The recollections, descriptions, and sense of actually experiencing the place is exciting and refreshing. This compilation is very satisfying to read, and in short, agreeable, digestible chunks. I don't want to be the Japanese tourist who has to visit all the "important" sites, taking photos of everything on a whistle stop tour, just to prove that "I have been there". I want to find out the rhythm of a place, and try and connect with it emotionally. This can equally be achieved sitting quietly for a few hours in a bar just off the main drag watching the world go by. For me this book achieves the anticipated aim of making the most of visiting a foreign place. For me, anticipating my first visit to Amsterdam next June, this book is more than ample preparation for what looks to be a great experience.