Proust in short form seemed like a dicey proposition to me. I mean, couldn't he stretch a single perfect sentence out to novella length? And then I dug a little deeper and realized that the subject of the novella was a real life defrauding scheme involving the manufacturing of diamonds that Proust himself and other notables of his day had lost money in. And that Proust addresses the scandal in short chapters told from the viewpoints of the famous including Flaubert and Balzac. And then I became convinced that this would prove an outlet for Marcel's bitchiest best. But I was wrong. This is wonderfully clever. He imitates their writing styles in the most uncanny way. Flaubert imitation is spot on. The translation work required to evoke these highly nuanced interpretations is incredibly impressive. My only complaint is that it absorbed too much of my challenge-dictated reading time as I hunted down lesser-known allusions and writers and such. This novella screams out for footnotes! Proust lover? Read this parlor game type fun. Don't know much of Proust or period? Skip it until it appears properly framed and digestible through notes.