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.
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 second. As with this entire series, it is beautifully narrated by Neville Jason.
Albertine remains a captive of sorts. The narrator literally transforms his jealousy into a fine art. Duplicity of speech is the order of the day. In a side show, the Verdurins engineer an extraordinary quarrel between Morel and M. de Charlus, so claiming Morel for themselves.
Proust tends to confine his violence to the verbal variety, and this volume does not lack for cutting speech. However perhaps the phrase that will stick most with the reader, or listener, is a poignant one. The narrator pretends to Albertine that they must and will part forever. She meekly accepts this, and looking around the room in his home, at the pianola, and the blue satin armchairs, she responds, "I still cannot make myself realise that I shall not see all this again, to-morrow, or the next day, or ever. Poor little room. It seems to me quite impossible; I cannot get it into my head." This phrase will come to haunt him.
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.
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