À la recherche du temps perdu is one of literature’s greatest classics. Sprawling over 3500 pages, it is Marcel Proust’s exploration deep into his childhood, friendships and love. The book took 15 years to write, but is it possible that it can be read during the festival?

As part of this year’s focus on French language literature, we have decided to really delve into this vintage classic.  At five o’clock on the 21st of May, the Norwegian writer Johnny Halberg will commence a throat-destroying marathon reading session in an attempt to read the entire book – out loud. Will he reach his goal of completing the text before the festival is over?  Will he lose his voice, will he become too weak to go on – writer and doctor Christer Mjåset will be on hand with regular health checks, and maybe a few others will pop in to help out.

Proust minute-by-minute takes place at Leseriet Café; the public are welcome to come in, take a seat and listen as they nibble on a madeleine and get up close to some of the best French literature has to offer.

The reading will be of Anne-Lisa Amadou and Karin Gundersen’s translation of the book. Marcel Proust: På sporet av den tapte tid, Gyldendal 2014-2017

Proust minute-by-minute on NRK

In conjunction with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, NRK, the public service broadcaster in Norway, the start of the marathon reading session will be covered on NRK2, with a broadcast on the 21st May, at 17.00. Siss Vik will interview the author before he begins to read.  The continuation of the reading can be followed online at nrk.no and litteraturfestival.no from Tuesday and throughout the festival.

Jonny Halberg