In the second volume of Proust’s great novel, the narrator emerges as an actor in the drama of his own life, and as an avid explorer of new worlds social, sexual and artistic.Swann has now dwindled into a husband for his former mistress Odette, and their daughter Gilberte becomes the adolescent narrator’s playmate and tantalising love-object. We move from Paris to the seaside town of Balbec, from ritualised social performances to midsummer spontaneity, and from Gilberte to her successor Albertine.
In Balbec, the narrator is befriended by the painter Elstir who introduces him both to the craft of painting and to the mysterious ‘little band’ of girls. An artistic education is thus intricately interwoven with a journey of sexual self-discovery.
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On the top shelf.
Everything. Full marks from beginning to end.
I'd like to hear Rowe perform all of Proust.
Put simply, the work is a masterpiece and the reader a master. The experience of hearing the novel read is wonderful and even life-changing! Do yourself a favour and listen to all the parts of this great novel read by John Rowe.
"Relax and float downstream"
The outrageously wet, spoiled and weedy teenage Marcel is taken to the seaside by his granny, and makes some new friends, thank goodness. Intensely soppy and prone, much like Fotherington-Thomas, to holding conversations with hawthorn-bushes, he also manages to be a shocking snob. He falls in with a bunch of schoolgirls and has long reveries about them, with his typical diffuse lecherousness, and eventually makes a great big clumsy pass at one, who quite properly handbags him sharpish.
The narrator, John Rowe, does a bang-up job of this, suavely keeping abreast of all those nested relative clauses and endless tangents. This is no mean feat, and without his impeccable pacing and surefooted navigation down the winding paths between full stops, the listener?s brain might well explode.
If you don?t mind ponderous, dreamy wallowing, the whole thing is strangely addictive.
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