, . . Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $25 (221pp) ISBN 978-0-374-23832-2

Editor Aciman (Out of Egypt ) asked 28 writers who share a deep appreciation of Proust—Alain de Botton, Lydia Davis, Richard Howard, Susan Minot, Colm Tóibín and Edmund White, among others—to choose and comment on their favorite passages from In Search of Lost Time . These passages are reprinted in English (using primarily D.M. Enright's 1993 translation) with the essays they inspired, linked by plot synopsis. Each writer brings to bear aspects of his or her own area of expertise—be it cultural criticism, poetry, musicology or translation. Reflections tend to be personal and autobiographical, a tone set by Aciman in his preface when he charmingly writes of how Proust invites us to " 'bookmark' our own past onto his." Almost all of the contributors attempt to define Proustian sensibility and to register its effects on the life of the mind. Olivier Bernier discusses how reading Proust helped him to assert his own aesthetic values, and Wayne Koestenbaum acutely reflects on Proust's wisdom regarding love objects and the imagination. In a more informative mode, Edmund White discusses Proust's apparent homophobia and sexual identity; and Richard Howard analyzes the "coiling elaboration" of a classic Proustian sentence. This title is full of intriguing moments of appreciation, ripe for sampling by seasoned Proustians, but not intended as an introduction to the great author. Agent, Lynn Nesbit. (Nov.)