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Swann's Way Kindle Edition

4 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Length: 442 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1214 KB
  • Print Length: 442 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1479340642
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0084AO06S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,750 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In Search of Lost Time is a very strange experience and not just while your are actually reading it.
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?
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Format: Paperback
The greatest novel ever? Quite possibly. Certainly there is nothing to compare in terms of quantity and quality combined, and compared to other very long novels Proust is easy to read. His writing is so beautiful, the famously long sentences full of a glorious wit and insight, that I found this semi-fictional memoir a great pleasure to read, so much so that I have now read two different translations.

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?
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Comment 30 of 31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I took note of all the reviews before taking the plunge. I was initially tempted having read Alain de Botton's 'How Proust can change your life' and I was pleased that I made the effort. Yes, it is very slow going especially for the first 50 pages but pay attention and you will be rewarded. The very long passages are deceptive, long descriptions that I'd certainly skip if it was Thomas Hardy. But these pages contain absolute gems that are worth the effort - moments of brilliant commentary on social life and existential concerns. The oddest aspect is the lack of normal length chapters so it is difficult to decide when to take a break. Best not to bother - just make sure you have a long holiday planned and keep reading.
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Format: Hardcover
Marcel Proust is an unsurpassed observer of human nature, many will identify with his remarks. Different people will see reflections of themselves in different passages, Proust's writting makes everybody feel as if looking in the mirror and you will have an altered perception of yourself after reading the "Search of lost time". This book is also a unique opportunity to be introduced to some of the greatest works of art of the western civilization through the way that the author experiences them and reconstructs them in his everyday life. This is applied art and it is one of Proust's gifts. The other is that he will make you feel happy for being alive, his attitude towards life is so positive, what a pleasure-seeking and fun-loving person that he was. He transmits that through his art.

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.
3 Comments 32 of 36 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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