Marcel Proust was an early 20th-century French author and one of the world’s most respected writers. Sodom and Gomorrah is the fourth volume of Proust’s colossal, seven-volume literary masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time.
Famously challenging with passages full of some of the most beautiful prose you will ever hear, this is a thoughtful and extremely cerebral (remember, this is Proust we’re talking about here) rumination on human consciousness, homosexual love, societal mores, and yes, time. Narrated with cultured appreciation by Neville Jason.
Accidentally witnessing an encounter between the Baron de Charlus and the tailor Jupien opens Marcel's eyes to a world hidden from him until now. Meanwhile, his love for Albertine is poisoned by the suspicion that she is attracted to her own sex. Sodom and Gomorrah (Cities of the Plain), Part I, the fourth volume of Marcel Proust's monumental, seven volume Remembrance of Things Past, addresses the subject of homosexual love with insight and understanding. Marcel continues his voyage of discovery though the homosexual world in Sodom and Gomorrah, Part 2.
While I found The Guermantes Way enjoyable but a bit lacking in depth, Proust returns to an examination of the inner lives of his characters in this book; and while I find Proust's language and powers of observation and description unparalleled, it is his insight into the human condition the makes his work so transcendent for me.
In this work, the interactions among all his characters lend themselves more to an in-depth study than in the prior work, where the superficiality of the society scenes into which he was entering precluded many deep insights. Here, his relationship with several characters deepens, particularly with Charlus and Albertine, and Proust's descriptions and insights of these relationships and conflicts never fails to fascinate, enchant, enlighten, draw the reader completely into his world.
I cannot say enough about the narration of Neville Jason. It is clear that he has studied and prepared for this reading as would an actor for the stage, and it shows in every moment. He has captured to perfection the voices of every character, particularly Charlus, with skill that goes far beyond what my own imagination could provide. His reading adds immeasurably to my enjoyment of the book.
I'm starting to regret that this novel is comprised only of seven books. It's a treasure one hopes will never end.
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Sodom et Gomorrhe is the fourth 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.
Warning: There are no serial murders in this particular volume, although serial philanderers are another thing altogether.
This particular section more explicitly covers various homosexual liaisons, previously only hinted at, some real and some surmised. Oodles more society gossip, snubs and snobbery, mingled with anti-semitism and the ongoing Dreyfus case, with support slowly swinging towards the falsely-accused officer. The impending demise of Swann casts a shadow, while the narrator visits Balbec a second time and is further drawn into a relationship with Albertine.
As I have noted before, Proust is an unhurried author, who delights in ordinary events. If you like really wonderful writing, a relaxed pace, and are after a break from a diet of thrillers, you will really like this.
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