Not a book one reads but inhabits & floats through
For years, I have put off reading Proust mainly because the size of In Search of Lost Time/Remembrance of Things Past seemed intimidating. Now, having..Show More » finished Swann's Way: Vol 1, I feel a compelling need to keep going.
This novel is preoccupied with all the details that surround time, desire, love, memory, happiness, life, truth, names and relationships. It is vivid, detailed and reminds the reader to look, feel, grab, smell, think, confess, and take big risks to grow that one perfect, mystic blossom of love.
Proust's prose is beautiful, his imagery is brilliant and he seems to swing for the fence on every page. This is not a book one reads, but one inhabits and floats through. But first one must find and dip your own Madeleine.
This is the first book of an extraordinary seven part novel. I listened to the samples of all the versions available on audible, and as soon as I hea..Show More »rd George Guidall’s narration I was hooked. With a narration the least bit pedantic or dry or florid or scholarly this could be quite tiresome. Guidall’s light touch and almost childlike tone was perfect for the story. This is less a story than ephemerally connected evocations, exploring the associations between memory and sense and time. The writing is introspective, complex and beautiful.
The only downside that, after completing this first part, I found this narrator had not read the other parts on Audible. The samples by Rowe and Jason did not entice me. I hope Guidall will narrate the other parts.
Because the Audible "release date" is 9-10, I thought this "new" recording must be the Lydia Davis translation. If you glance at the old Moncrief ver..Show More »sion (this recording, it turns out), youi can see why everyone has said for years, "you've got to read the French to get Proust." But the critics unanimously have praised the new translations for "In Search of Lost Time" series. And Davis' Swann's Way (from 2002!) has had hymns composed in praise.
Yet here we have a "new" release in the old Victorian Moncrief mess that has put so many English readers to sleep. Though I paid for book in December, I didn't start listening until recently and feel deceived and ripped off by Audible's lack of description. Of course, shame on me for thinking recent should mean up to date.
Proust's writing is perfect and John Rowe's delivery is perfect. settle into Swann's Way (Pt. 1 and Pt 2) as though you were settling into a huge comf..Show More »y chair with all the time in the world stretched out before you and you will NEVER regret the time spent listening to this version of volume 1 of In Search of Lost Time. to the contrary. you will quickly purchase the other volumes, cancel all appointments, turn off the phone, give up on facebook, and listen with awe and keen interest to John Rowe read Marcel Proust. what more could a book and an audiobook deliver?! the time is most definitely not lost. ohmygoodness.
I'm still in the middle of the section often called "Swann in Love" and he's nearly insane. These days he would be called a stalker. This is painful..Show More » to listen to. However, since I know it reflects the innermost thoughts of many of us, it's valuable.
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 ..Show More »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.
Proust writes marvelous stuff, but his interminable sentences can make his work difficult to read. Now, John Rowe to the rescue: he reads so sensitiv..Show More »ely, it's like listening to one's own thoughts. I was so glad to find he's started another volume of Proust's masterwork, and look forward eagerly to the second installment, and hopefully more to come. Insomniacs, take note: with Marcel Proust/James Rowe on your iPod, you may be able to jettison the Lunesta. I mean this in a good way (and I think that Proust, who wrote at night in that cork-lined room, would have approved): the narrative is absorbing, complex, seductive, and nonlinear, perfect for bedtime (or the wee hours of the night), as it hardly matters where you leave off or pick it up again.
Reviewing 'Sodom and Gomorrah' puts me in an awkward spot. What are the risks of looking back obliquely on Proust's fourth volume of 'In Search of Los..Show More »t Time' (ISOLT)? Will any indirect reference to Proust's army of inverts turn me into a pillar of salt? Will I disquiet my friends and my family with funky quotes from Proust's salon-centric novel?
It is hard to grab this one volume and grade or inspect it separate from the previous three, and seems premature to attempt to capture the full body of ISOLT before finishing the next three. Still, having read/listened 2700+ pages /102 hours of Proust now, I can still feel confident in saying that the guy is brilliant, weird, distressing, mesmerizing, queer, petulant, boring, beautiful, raving, labyrinthine, decadent, lyrical, perverse, funky, banal, and that is just a sampling of my feelings about Proust on just one of his d@mned pages.
But this is a novel that once started, must be finished. It is also a novel that needs to be eaten in discrete and slow chunks. I'm not sure it is possible to eat an entire wheel of Leerdammer by oneself, or to drink an entire hogshead of wine, or to read Proust's ISOLT all the way through. It is brilliant, but needs to be consumed in small graceful quantities, preferably with your pinky sticking out.
I started listening to Proust and it feels again like I've submerged into a slow-moving prose river. The water is clean, with gradual bends, but somet..Show More »imes filled with small boiling eddies, swirls, and reverses. Time and memory move in one direction, but the current of Proustian memory contains an involuntary universe of vortexes and wakes. We fall in and out of love. Our memory of our love becomes bent and refracted as we move away from those we once loved.
Seriously, every time I read/listen to Proust I finish thinking he could write a whole novel about one small spot on a random river. An exposed rock or boulder that cuts the flow of the river into two halves could occupy 100 pages as Proust described the nuance of the water around and against the rock. He would obviously need to describe the varying temperature of the water and the way the light moves through the textured leaves of the green forest's canopy. How evening's light danced its crepuscular silhouettes against the reflections of dusk on the churning ripples of a slowly moving river.
Full of emotional/intellectual/experiential joules
Wow, Proust kills it with this last book in his masterpiece In Search of Lost Time. He pulls it all together. I loved Proust's reflections on literary..Show More » and artistic creation, reality, memory, pain, death and time -- and how in 'Time Regained' he draws all his themes together.
About 2/3 into 'Time Regained' the book started to swarm with emotional, intellectual, and experiential energy. You can feel Proust near a climax. IT is like the last movement of a great classical piece. The book feels like all his themes and fugues are twisting together, increasing in tempo, and taking a firmer shape: page by page, word after word.
I'm almost sad that it is over. There are few books I've ever wanted to start reading/listening to again immediately after finishing. Today as I was setting down 'Time Regained', I almost reached for 'Swann's Way'. I feel like there was so much I missed, whole sections that I just didn't get in the beginning. Gems that dropped between the pages of my cognition.
At the same time, I think that is the essence of Proust: the recognition that in the end, his novel is just us. My same need or desire to go back and read 'In Search of Lost Time' again is similar to my desire to go back into my own past and re-experience my youth with the knowledge I have now. It is a futile, but a very human desire. It is an impulse created by recognizing the expanse and limitations of time and memory. The genius of Proust is his ability to transport the reader to that point where we recognize the art within our own lives at the intersection of our memory and experience.
I'm glad I had the audiobook version to help me pace through this masterpiece.