Articles by Hannah Gersen

September 21, 2016

Living in French: The Millions Interviews Lauren Collins 0

The better my language skills get, the more I’m aware of, the more I’m able to penetrate. It’s fantastic. It’s been unlocking this secret cave full of riches I could never access before. It’s a midlife gift — both as a person and as a reporter.

August 31, 2016

Proust Book Club: On Reading Recklessly 2

In real life, it would be hazardous to take on another person’s point of view so completely, but in reading, you can be reckless.

July 7, 2016

Bill Cunningham’s Proustian Eye 1

Cunningham often said he was looking for beauty, and he believed that it could be found anywhere. Like the great novelists, he taught us how to see other people, and the world.

June 2, 2016

In Which Marcel Proust Anticipates a Minor Mid-Life Crisis at My 15-Year College Reunion 0

It wasn’t until midway through lunch on the second day, while nursing a bit of a hangover, that I realized that my vision was compromised.

April 15, 2016

Black Berets Unite: In Praise of Pretentiousness 25

A partial list of things labeled pretentious in my home town: indie rock, foreign films, mobile phones, vegetarian diets, keeping one’s maiden name, carrying bottled water, wearing all black, drinking wine, reading The New York Times, dressing androgynously, taking self-portraits, drinking Starbucks, practicing yoga.

April 7, 2016

Gluten-Free Proust 1

Anything is tasty when you haven’t had dairy, gluten, refined sugar, corn, potatoes, processed foods, or alcohol for several weeks.

March 14, 2016

Doing Laundry with Marcel Proust 3

Marcel’s questions about Swann’s life and his love affairs are essential questions of childhood: what is love, what is sexual desire, what is society, what is class, what, in short, are these mysterious forces that are shaping life but which no one alludes to directly?

February 18, 2016

Another Mask: On Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘In Other Words’ 1

I started Jhumpa Lahiri’s new memoir expecting to find a story about the joys and struggles of learning Italian as an adult, and as a writer. But Lahiri did not write the book I was expecting — and which I think many other readers might be primed for. Instead, she has written an elegant, if somewhat oblique, memoir about creative crisis.

February 9, 2016

The Proust Book Club: The View From Age 38 4

Proust was 38 years old and in poor health when he started writing. He knew he did not have any time left to waste. He believed — as it turned out, accurately — that he was writing on deadline.

January 26, 2016

The Proust Book Club: An Introduction 15

And so, here I am, 10 years (!) later, trying again to finish one of the best novels I’ve ever read, possibly the best novel I’ve ever read. (I’ll know for sure when I finish.)