I finally finished this novel. Has to be the worst book I've ever read. It wonders all over the place. It starts with the author and his childhood, then it goes to this guy Swann and his ridiculous obsession with his mistress Odette, who plays him like a fiddle. Then there is an unbelievably tiresome 3 hr dinner party that goes on for ever in minute detail, with the most insufferably boorish snobs imaginable. Then its back to Swann and his pathetic obsession with Odette. Then back to the narrator. If you have a choice of shooting yourself in the head, or reading this ridiculous waste of time called a "classic"...Anny get your gun.
You get the sense that Proust, like Dickens, was paid by the word. It is not short. The story is magnificently narrated and very enjoyable.
I do not know what all the hallbaloo is about! I am halfway through first part and it is indeed laborious. Perhaps, this is not the time for me to read Proust. You have to be very aware and listen to every word and then "throw" half of them away to get the meaning. I will pick it up later and perhaps have a different view, but right now I can think of many other authors I'd rather been "reading".
This book goes on forever about the most uninteresting things. I could not identify with the narrator or any of the other characters in the book, yet I heard about them ad nauseum - not to mention church spires, hawthorne bushes, and one scene where a woman is so exasperated and bored by an one-sided conversation that she collapses, exhausted, as soon as it is done with. We hear the entire conversation word for word, laid out in full in the text of the book. I collapsed, exhausted, upon its conclusion, and deleted the book from my mp3 player.
That said, I do think the narrator did a fine job. Unfortunately, though he reads well, he is naturally gifted with a deep, soothing, sleep-inducing voice. There were times listening to this book when I could not keep my eyes from unfocusing. I cannot believe that this is only the first of seven books.
I read somewhere when I was younger that Proust's Remembrance of Things Past was perhaps the greatest novel ever written. I never did read it and decided that now was the time to start with the first volume.
Thank God I never got around to reading it. Had I done so I may have given up reading entirely, thinking if this is the greatest novel I don't want to read ever again.
It is narrated by a neurotic Mama's boy who recalls a tale of an even more neurotic family acquaintance. I was bored to tears. If there is a point to this endless tale, it certainly escaped me.
Don't waste your time or money with this turkey.
I was trying to buy Swann's Way by Proust and also the original short version (4 CDs) of Ulysses by Joyce. To start with, it was incredibly frustrating to find them, because the information on the site made it very difficult to figure out whether what was offered was a short version or the complete version. And I was constantly being offered the book in hardback or paperback, which was useless information to me. I had to use the information about the running time to guess whether I was being offered the short version of Ulysses (4 hours, what I wanted) of the complete book. When I tried doing a search with the keyword "abridged," the computer changed the keyword to "unabridged," exactly the opposite of what I wanted. With the Proust, it was usually unclear whether I was being offered only one half of the book (not what I wanted) or the whole thing.
Then when I had apparently found what I needed and clicked the button to buy it, I discovered that in fact what I had bought was a download, which was not what I wanted, because I was buying it to give to my daughter. But then, to complete the disaster, it never downloaded at all.
And then the site insisted that I give star ratings for the book and the performance. Since I was never able to actually listen to it, all I can do is give a rating of 0 to everything.
I order books from Amazon all the time, with almost never any problem. But this collaboration between Amazon and Audible is a disaster. And somehow I suspect that the same thing will be true for Kindle.