Listening to Proust may be the ideal way to experience this great French writer. His prose is exquisite, but so careful in its variation that it benefits greatly from Neville Jason's narration. Jason performs the text, more than narrating it, and his marked changes in tone, pace, and breath make this a pleasure to listen to. Jason also emphasizes the humor of the text, playing up each speaker's verbal tics. Proust's story focuses on desire and art. The desire is examined through character thought and action, the art through the precision of the prose, and through the snippets of period music that are occasionally carefully interwoven with it.
In the first part of The Captive the fifth volume of Marcel Proust's monumental, seven volume Remembrance of Things Past, Marcel's suspicions regarding Albertine's lesbian desires lead to his keeping her a virtual prisoner in his Paris apartment. The Captive is a masterly portrayal of obessional jealousy.
(P)2000 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.; ©2000 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.
The Captive is the fifth book of the seven-volume In Search of Lost Time / Rememberances. For audiobook purposes, it is divided into two parts, this being the first. As with this entire series, it is beautifully narrated by Neville Jason.
This particular section commences with the period in which the intriguing Albertine lives with the narrator in Paris, virtually as a prisoner in a gilded cage, hence the title. A feature of the book is his increasing obsession and near-paranoid episodes of jealousy regarding Albertine. The narrator selects Andr?e (another of the little band of Balbec) to be a guide and companion to his mistress, and also entrusts her to the Verdurin chauffeur, a friend of the sinister violinist, Charlie Morel, both rather unwise choices. Morel in turn continues his relationship with M. de Charlus while also increasingly becoming seriously smitten by Jupien's niece.
For readers seeking action, I regret that there is neither a speedboat chase up the Seine, nor a gangster shootout amid the gargoyles of the Notre Dame. The action is instead far more deadly, concentrating on barbed words and spiteful actions.
As I have noted before, Proust is an unhurried author, who delights in ordinary events (and some that are rather out of the ordinary). If you like really wonderful writing, a relaxed pace, and are after a break from a diet of thrillers, you will really like this.
The narration put me to sleep, and the plot seems like it would be an okay read but I couldn't get into it!
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