This translation by C.K. Scott Moncrieff, completed in 1922, introduced the English-speaking world to Proust, who has had immense influence on 20th century literature.
(P)1996 The Audio Partners Publishing Corp.
Towns within towns, rooms within rooms, stories within stories, phrases within phrases. It takes an exceptional reader to follow the threads of this lush narrative without losing the listener on the way. John Rowe brilliantly captures the languid tenacity and subtle wit of Proust's rich prose. He also pronounces the occasional French (place names, characters) correctly, so that read smoothly with the English. Now if only the other 6 volumes were available on audio! I see most are offered abridged. I would never read/listen to an abridged book, least of all a masterpiece. And Proust abridged? What a cruel oxymoron. Back to paper for the last 6 volumes.
. . . by John Rowe. His diction, his sense of the rhythm of the lovely Moncrieff translation, his subtle and often hilarious characterizations in the dialogue passages (contra the review below) make this the finest reading I've ever heard. Roger Shattuck in his commentary on Proust says that hearing the book aloud is the ideal way to experience it. I never knew what he meant until I heard this reading. Please! Can't Rowe read the rest? Like Cheryl, I think that you only have the abridged versions of the other volumes available is a scandal. I've listened to long passages from this reading many times and each time I'm struck again by the beauty of both the prose and the performance.
This is so good that I despair of finding any other audio book to match it. I read the book years ago in graduate school, but the beauty didn't leap out at me then. Many people find this work difficult to read because of the Proust style - long sentences that paint tiny cameos with endless subordinate clauses and extended similes. However, when the book is read, the excellent narrator makes it lucid, and the beauty of the poetic prose shines out. Don't look too hard for narrative here; the work is about how memory resides in the body and is re-experienced through the glory of the senses. Smell, hear, touch! Oh, yes, and it's also about ruinous sexual obsession, too. Enjoy. (Now, why has no one produced an unabridged recording of the second volume?)
I wish all audio books were read by this narrator! He reads beautifully and slows enough to absorb the subtleness of this book. It is the best audio book I have ever listened to.
Proust enters into a level a description that I've never encountered before. Characters' thoughts and feelings are drawn with unusual detail.
We have all experienced the things he describes, for instance, how a cascade of memories and sentiments is brought to mind by a small stimulus, like a biscuit. But I, for one, have been taught to regard such reminiscence as useless and to get past it, rather than as something to embrace and study.
Proust does not think these things are useless. They are really the subject of his work.
Proust's characters are some of the dullest members of the idle rich imaginable. They interact, but they don't actually do anything.
I often wondered if I was supposed to laugh at what was going on (which isn't much.) I thought of Seinfeld, the TV show about nothing. This book is about that same nothing.
Yet, when I picked up a science fiction short story after finishing Swann, its clich?d and abbreviated depiction of feelings left me hungry for Proust's gifted portrayals.
The story is well narrated.
This is a very good reading of the book. The reader's voice is just right for the material and his pronounciation of the characters' names is impecable.
I also appreciate the pace, which suits Proust's style. Perhaps not to the liking of those who love thrillers but certainly for anyone with taste for the best of classical modern literature.
The reading of this book is one of the masterpieces in recorded fiction. I also wish the other volumes of Proust's novel were available unabridged by this narrator.
This is truly one of the greatest books of all time.
I found it really improved on the second listen.
I only wish Audible had the other six volumes available unabridged.
This is an excellent reading of Swann's Way - I only wish that John Rowe had read the rest of the series. His intonation and expressions are spot on - easy to understand, pleasant to listen to and with just the right amount of emotion. Far surpases the other readings available.
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