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Swann's Way Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm not, although I would like to, go into Proust's strange prose style - which admittedly you do get used to after a while, in fact it becomes so normal you find yourself doing it - because I'm not a student of literature and there are others far more eloquent than I to explain his elongated sentences that go on and on forever without coming to an end and by the time you get there you've forgotten what he was talking about when he started.
But like I said, you do get used to.
Actually, in the beginning I used to underline the subject-verb-object (or whatever order it came in) with pencil - dirty habit I know.
But the strangest thing about reading this book comes after.
You hear his echo EVERYWHERE!
Not just in thoughts on the nature of memory and time, but also: self image, alienation, love, self pity, selfishness, sensation, food, fashion, snobbery, delusion, hypochondira, society, vision, colour, art, fickleness... and you realise you'd never really thought about them objectivity before. Proust breaks these ideas down for you into their constituent parts, contemplates, ruminates (yes maybe a little too long), and leaves you with a clear sense of it within the human experience.
This book had such an impact on early 20th century artists and writers you hear these echoes constantly, even if they are second hand influences, but strangest of all, you hear them in yourself.
The book is a breakdown of all the silly games humans play with themselves and each other.
Very few of the characters , least of all Marcel, is admirable.
Is that because Proust is unafraid to give him over to you guts and psychic bubble and all?Read more ›
If you find the prospect of reading the whole magnificent opus too daunting, just start with Swann's Way, which can be treated as a novel in its own right, and see if you don't become hooked. That and the second volume will give you the flavor of the whole work and if you aren't enjoying it there's no point in ploughing through, or buying, the later volumes. You'll either love the writing and think it's the best ever, or you'll give up early on, unable to face the challenge that lies ahead.
So what's it all about? Well, if I may be so bold as to try summarizing around 3,500 pages in two words (and improve on Monty Python in the process), I'd say it was about human weakness. Proust's great strength as a writer is his ability, with his extraordinarily sensitive nature, to capture the essence of what it means to be human: to desire, to love, to cheat, to be jealous, to face death, plus quite a lot about the appeal of art and music. All this is in the context of wealthy Parisian society at the end of the nineteenth century, which may seem far removed from the world we live in now, but the one of the great things about the book is that we can see that people don't really change: human nature is human nature still.
Which translation to go for?Read more ›
I recommend this edition of Proust, the translation is of very high standards. I believe that the complexity of the author's sentences and his challenging syntax are allowed to shine. Amazing manipulation of language, Proust was an extraordinarily educated man and the words chosen by Moncrieff and Kilmartin are so special, again they allow the airy and higly elaborated writing of Proust to manifest itself.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Loved this book, did not find the problems others experienced, although in fairness I do not consider it the best book I have ever read, although it must rate in the top ten.Published 2 months ago by Steve Sidders
I always laughed at Proust's ridiculously long sentences and interminable descriptions of the banal. Until,that is, I read The Hare with Amber Eyes. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Jane Crouch
Slow and careful, with a rhythm that draws you in, gradually gripping you until you never want it to end. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Book Lover