Remembrance of Things Past is one of the monuments of 20th century literature. Neville Jason’s widely praised abridged version has rightly become an audiobook landmark and now, upon numerous requests, he is recording the whole work unabridged which, when complete, will run for some 140 hours.
Within a Budding Grove is the second of seven volumes. The young narrator, experiencing his youthful sexuality, falls under the spell of a group of adolescent girls, succumbs to the charms of the enchanting Gilberte, and visits a brothel where he meets Rachel. His impressions of life are also stimulated by the painter, Elstir, and his encounter with another girl, Albertine.
Public Domain (P)2012 Naxos AudioBook
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
My first recommendation when reading Proust is the reader MUST make sure they have a reliable bookmark, because when (not if, but when) you lose your place your faulty memory will not be able to remember exactly where you just were. One young nubile girl starts to blend into another young nubile girl who looks at this point a lot like her friend. One picked flower starts to smell like another from an earlier page; a page that seemed to exist a whole lifetime ago. One young man with mommy issues starts to look almost exactly like another young man with grand-mommy issues.
That being said, you don't read Proust for the lines. You read Proust for everything else. It is those moments between plot points where all the rich texture resides. There is something languorous about just simply letting Proust's prose wash over you ~~~ wave after wave. Suddenly, you really don't care if you've already read a certain page because you are content and you recognize that you will read it again in just a few pages anyway and it will be beautiful and true all over again.
Neville Jason's narration is a fantastic crutch. I use the narration to keep me paced as I read the text. I tried this approach first with Joyce and it worked so well I used it with Pynchon. The listening/reading approach is perfect for Proust.
I found myself mesmerized by this book. Proust is a master of describing the intimate details of his thinking. Very little happens in the book outwardly. Essentially the narrator tells of his summer in a town on the Norman coast. And the characters, including the narrator, aren't particularly admirable. But it's absolutely fascinating to listen to his riffs on a wide variety of subjects, from sexuality to arts and artists to creativity to memory. Very hard to describe, but it's like listening to someone describing the incredibly interesting things they see inside a microscope looking at human character. The reader is good. Definitely kept my interest alive.
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