A century ago on Nov. 18, 1922, Marcel Proust died. He worked feverishly in his final hours on his masterpiece, À la Recherche du Temps Perdu, In Search of Lost Time. His 4,000 page novel is one of the most remarkable works of literature of the 20th century. During the war in Bosnia, I plowed my way through its seven volumes populated with 400 characters not as an escape from the war, for the specter of death and the twilight of an expiring society haunts Proust’s work, but as a way to reflect on the disintegration around me. Proust, like all great writers, gave me the words to describe aspects of the human condition I knew instinctively but had trouble articulating. Proust understood the conflicting ways we perceive reality and come to our own peculiar self-serving truths. He illuminated human folly with its illusions, ambiguities, and contradictions.