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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quagmire of the vanities
This third book in Proust's epic cycle of quiet remembrance sees Marcel entering fully into adult life, and we are privileged once more with the opportunity to browse the strange aquarium of the existence he attempts to inhabit, insofar as his uniquely critical eye will allow him. Becoming once more immersed in the fabulously detailed observations, psychological and...
Published on 22 Mar 2011 by John Ferngrove

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Probably the hardest book of the series to read
After finish the first 2 books I was keen to get started on the third but I have to admit that it took me twice as long to finish this one than any of the others in the series. As the previous reviewer commented I think this book may be the barrier to people reading the whole of 'In Search of Lost Time'.

The main problem was the endless parties and dinners...
Published on 29 Aug 2010 by jeanniej


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quagmire of the vanities, 22 Mar 2011
By 
John Ferngrove (Hants UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: In Search of Lost Time: The Guermantes Way: The Guermantes Way v. 3 (In Search of Lost Time 3) (Paperback)
This third book in Proust's epic cycle of quiet remembrance sees Marcel entering fully into adult life, and we are privileged once more with the opportunity to browse the strange aquarium of the existence he attempts to inhabit, insofar as his uniquely critical eye will allow him. Becoming once more immersed in the fabulously detailed observations, psychological and aesthetic, of his world, I've allowed myself to spend some few months reading this, taking time out for the odd diversion with less totally absorptive reading matter. With so little plot I have found that such excursions do not interrupt the pleasure to be had from these book. It seems I have learned now how best to approach them so as to maximally savour the near-baroque intricacies of the writing, reading much of it aloud, in the bath, as I would with poetry, just a very few pages at a time. As ever, little really happens. Various infatuations expire into detached disappointments. With the passing of his beloved grandmother we see less and less of the family, and the ever entertaining servant, Francoise, as Marcel becomes progressively absorbed into the vacuously aristocratic circle of the Duc and Duchesse de Guermantes, his family's landlords and immediate neighbours. As other reviewers say, the book becomes a tough plod, specifically in its last two hundred pages, which subjects us to the most exhaustive possible account of a singularly excruciating dinner party. I am still wondering just what Proust intended at this point in his narrative. Is this full-fledged satire? He dissects, with abject cruelty, the many layers of hypocrisy that characterise a selection of people from a class who are portrayed as entirely parasitic, and who are at this point in history an archaic vestige of a modernising society. None of these odious lives have any bedrock of genuine meaning beneath the snobbery and philistinism by which they sustain the illusion of the centrality of their relevance. Indeed, at the end of the book Marcel himself seems in danger of turning into one of these people, having analysed both love and friendship to the very brink of extinction. It is easy to dismiss these people as anachronistic dinosaurs, mercifully extinct, or at least properly marginalised, and to take comfort in the belief that we ordinary folk are, for the most part, better, more genuine than that. But then something reminds us that all of us have something in common with these wretches. We all to some extent must create the meaning of our lives by insisting that much of what we do and are is for more important than it actually is. And we are all obliged to protect those meanings by banishing a host of uncomfortable truths to the backs of our minds, behind a wall of semi-truths and carefully managed ignorance. This last part of the book is indeed rather gruelling, and I found myself pushing through it in a few days, having relished what went before over a matter of months, just to get it done with. One wonders if it might have had a more immediate appeal, and been more obviously amusing to the readers of his day. However, this has in no way dented my enthusiasm for the grand project of completing the cycle, although I am most relieved to have finally escaped at last from the most suffocating dinner party I have ever been obliged to attend.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The third volume of Proust's rambling masterpiece, 6 Jun 2010
This review is from: In Search of Lost Time: The Guermantes Way: The Guermantes Way v. 3 (In Search of Lost Time 3) (Paperback)
This is part-three of 'In Search of Lost Time', Proust's semi-autobiographical novel about love, desire and what it means to be human. This volume is particularly focused on Marcel's love for (or obsession with) the Duchesse de Guermantes, one of whose grand apartments in Paris his family have just moved into.
This study of wealthy Parisian society at the beginning of the twentieth century is not my favourite episode of the whole work as it rambles a bit too much at times. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the point where some readers give up the journey. But if you want to read the whole thing (around 3,500 pages in all) obviously you will need to plow through this part, though there's no point in reading this volume if you haven't already read the previous two - 'Swann's Way' and 'In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower' (original English title 'Within a Budding Grove').
Which translation to go for? This relatively recent edition by Mark Treharne is not so very different from the original Scott Moncrieff version (which is still available) just updated into more modern prose, a little easier to read perhaps. It is the beauty of the writing that makes Proust special, and that certainly comes across here.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Probably the hardest book of the series to read, 29 Aug 2010
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This review is from: In Search of Lost Time: The Guermantes Way: The Guermantes Way v. 3 (In Search of Lost Time 3) (Paperback)
After finish the first 2 books I was keen to get started on the third but I have to admit that it took me twice as long to finish this one than any of the others in the series. As the previous reviewer commented I think this book may be the barrier to people reading the whole of 'In Search of Lost Time'.

The main problem was the endless parties and dinners which I found hard to wade through and generally a bit dull. I also have to confess that I couldn't exactly understand why the narrator was invited to these rarified salons as, and forgive me if I've missed something, he's neither particularly artistic or aristocratic. Also the conversations about pro/anti Dreyfusism were lost on me until I did some research into the Dreyfus affair.

All in all I didn't like this book as much as the ones before and you definately have to work harder to read it but it wasn't all bad. Unless your fascinated by the intimate workings of the Parisien salon you will probably find parts of it a slog but keep in mind that the next book is better and I don't really think you can miss this one out if you're going to read the whole series
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4.0 out of 5 stars book three - searching for lost time, 22 Feb 2014
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H. M. Anderson (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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third in Proust's epic series, this charts the narrator's coming of age and his beginning to be interested in girls and his entry into Parisian society in his own right, rather than just with his parents. Again the book is written in the long, often laboured, languorous style, going off on tangents and often being a little difficult to follow but occasionally comes out with some incredible insights into human behaviour or accurate narrations about life in general. an interesting but hard going read. 57% into the book is "chapter two!"
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 11 Oct 2014
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Arrived in immaculate condition, thank you very much!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition garbled, 28 May 2013
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Julian (Woking, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I have been reading my way through In Search of Lost Time. Although long and involved, it is amazing how Proust describes the working of the mind. I find that in many different areas of life Proust's observations are still absolutely relevant.

For convenience, I have been reading volume 3 in both a hardback version and on my Kindle. I've found that the Kindle version has some of the pages mixed up. This was particularly noticeable at the end of the book where Mme de Guermantes has to change her red shoes. The synopsis at the end of the book gives this incident as the final section, and it is so in the Folio copy of the book that I have. Unfortunately in the ebook edition this section is at location 10231, page 689 when the ebook ends at location 10656.

How much of the book is muddled up I don't know or indeed if any of the ebook is missing. It is disappointing when one has paid a decent price for the digital edition to have the pages mixed up.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, though like other reviewers, I did find Volume 3 the most hard going of the volumes so far. The presentation of the Kindle ebook is of a poor standard.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In search of lost time Vol3 The Germantes Way, 4 Feb 2013
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This book is quite hard going but I must persevere as it is part of the saga. Happy to do this as the first two books are a pleasure to read
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars How many dinner parties can one man attend?, 8 Aug 2012
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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I have been struggling my way through 'In Search of Lost Time' for several years now. Proust is not for the faint hearted, it has to be said. This is the third volume of six, and at the half way mark I was rather hoping that things might get a little easier, but sadly, it was not to be. If anything, this has been the most difficult volume so far.

It must be understood that barely anything happens in Proust. Hundreds of pages are taken up with explorations of the life of the mind, the paranoia of social climbing, and in depth explanations of how the light falls on branches, which spoon to use for soup, and who said what to who at which dinner party and whether anyone else noticed. If this kind of thing bores you silly, then Proust is not for you. I am beginning to come to the realisation that Proust is not for me, but having got this far it seems a shame not to finish what is turning out to be an epic of endurance.

The whole thing is semi autobiographical, and told in the first person, so we see the struggles of the author in the struggles of the 'hero', who is not really a hero because he doesn't do anything except worry about social niceties and become romantically obsessed with utterly unsuitable women most of whom do not return his feelings in any way.

In this book we spend many a long page navel gazing over the unsuitable Duchess of Guermantes, we look at the ins and outs of the Dreyfuss case, which was ripping apart France at the time, but if you don't have any prior knowledge of it, it will not make sense to you, as Proust does not give us the salient details at all, and then we spend an inordinate amount of time going to dinner parties where people discuss their genealogical roots.

It is dull, and difficult and utterly unsatisfactory. Apart from that, I really enjoyed it.
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