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8 Reviews
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece of masterpieces, 18 Nov 2005
I had been intrigued by Proust since early age, for one of my favourite books is Gold and Fizdale's "Misia" and his name crops up all the time. I bought the Scott Moncrieff's English version in Paris over ten years ago and I know that many supposedly more authoritative versions have come out ever since. Yet, a few years ago I read the version in French as organised by Jean-Yves Tadié, the best known pundit on Proust's work to date and I have to say Moncrieff's translation doesn't stray that far from the original. "A la recherche" is to me the most important book in the history of literature. Compellingly philosophical, psychological, soul-searching and esthetic, no details of life go amiss. I am alternately moved, stirred and surprised at Proust's dexterity in describing the wide range of human emotions and the complexity of human interactions. He discusses art, love, jealousy, nostalgy, ambition, social climbing, politics and you cannot fail to empathise with his prose or finding new moot questions with each new reading of his work. His work is as relevant today as it was at the time when it got published.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Through a Glass Darkly, 9 April 1998
By A Customer
Having just gotten my B.A. a couple of years ago I must have been in an ambitious mood or something, because I decided to read the whole of In Search of Lost Time, cover to cover, pausing only for food and sleep. It's the sort of work that looks more like Mount Everest than a regular ol' novel when you first start reading it, but it turned out to be one of the best companions I could have asked for over the past few years. Proust was a mmaster of the cooly detatched but almost unbelievably sensitive description of human motivation, and his perspective on the harmless, but decadent latter-day French aristocracy whose attitudes and practices provie most of the material for the seven books in the series, is deeply selfish and amoral, but also inexhaustibly curious and sympathetic. This constrast comes out most noticeably in The Captive and The Fugitive, which basically consist of several hundred pages of reflection upon Proust's love affair with a young girl named Albertine. The pair of novels are full of long, sustained reflections on the nature of love, and upon the deep mysteries that attend upon trying to understand what makes other people tick. There is an especially lovely passage in which Proust describes the feelings he undergoes while watching Albertine sleep. By the time of the end of the novel, though, the reader finds himself left with the curious sense that one doesn't actually know anything at all concrete about the "Fugitive" Albertine. Nobody was better than Proust at dissecting the motives and the mores of other people without ever gining in to the novelist's illusion that he understood them better than they did themselves. I recommend these novels to anyone who is up for a bit of a challenge (even Scott Moncrieff's lovely translation of the French could never make Proust an "easy read"), and who is prepared to be enlightened by the reading of a novel even if it doesn't issue in the usual "payoff" of a sense of superior understanding in relation to the charatcters depicted there.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest books ever, but which translation to go for?, 15 May 2010
This is Volume 5 of Proust's masterpiece 'In Search of Lost Time', a rambling, beautiful semi-autobiographical novel about love, desire and what it means to be human, in the context of wealthy Parisian society at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth. This volume (which was originally published as two separate books, 'The Captive' and 'The Fugitive') is particularly focused on Proust's love for Albertine, and all the heartache she brings him.
But this is really a part of one long novel (and close to the end at that), so there is absolutely no point in reading this volume if you haven't already read the previous four books. If you are new to Proust then it is essential that you begin with 'Swann's Way', the first volume and the only one that will work as a stand-alone novel.
This relatively recent translation by Carol Clark aims to update the original Scott Moncrieff version, putting more emphasis on literal accuracy rather than trying to capture the essence of Proust's flowing prose, as Scott Moncrieff did, perhaps adding some of his own interpretation occasionally.
I don't think it matters too much which translation you go for: both approaches have their merits and their devotees, and the differences aren't all that great. It is the beauty of the writing that makes Proust so special, and that is retained well enough, whichever translator you go for.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best one in the series so far, 27 April 2011
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I've read the preceeding 4 books of Proust epic and liked some more than others but this one is probably my favourite so far. The thing that I think makes this whole epic so brilliant is that it's totally immersive being as you feel like you're inside the main characters head.

The Prisoner is the first part of the book and deals with the protagonists claustrophobic relationship with Albertine. The Fugitive deals with the aftermath of said relationship and also contains several revelations about characters previously met, one of which I was NOT expecting. 19th century Parisiens clearly had a very fluid attitude to sexual orientation which I found quite at odds with my expectations to be honest! I'll say no more, you'll have to find out for yourself.

Obviously as other reviewers have pointed out, you can't just jump into the series here, you need to read thm in order but I'm dying to read the last installment now.
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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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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Proust paperback, 12 Aug 2013
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This is a continuation of a series and it is a very good printing. Will certainly buy next one along.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just the best novel ever written, ever, 25 Mar 2004
By 
Julia (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
I LOVE Proust. Really worth persevering with, and it's even better in French.
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2 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evans, 4 Aug 2009
Chris is one of the five student volunteers on work experience at 'The Sanctuary'. Part of his duties is to nurse the newest arrival, a one year old orphaned Orang Outang.
Chris decides to name him 'Evans'. For some reason he can't quite put his finger on he reminds him of Mr. Evans, (first name unknown), the manager of the corner shop down the road from where he lived back home. Unlike the majority of feral apes, Evans is young enough to become one of the domesticated animals at the centre. Chris quickly grows fond of Evans. There seems to be some special pleasurable bond between the two of them. Chris, who has always been something of a loner, finds to his amazement, that for the first time in his twenty five years, he is actually looking forward to something that has nothing to do with drink or sex - to his time with Evans. He takes pleasure for hours in his company and misses him when they are separated. These are feelings he has never experienced with his friends or the staff at the Sanctuary. He spends his days happily, he feels well, healthy and complete for the first time in his life. The time with Evans is spent grooming, sharing food, dozing and generally mooching together. Evans is easy going, undemanding and affectionate. Chris thinks he detects many of the finest human qualities in Evans-he is sensitive, considerate and respectful. In his fantasies, Chris even imagines that perhaps in some other incarnation, some other reality, there has been something special and close between them-some kinship, some brotherly bond. Chris has one secret desire for his relationship. If only Evans could communicate with him. Just a single word, just to make a connection would be wonderful. Chris spends many hours attempting to teach Evans the simplest of words, the most basic of responses, but it is hopeless. The concentration is completely absent. The whole vocal mechanism is impossibly incapable. And worse, it seems that Evans just doesn't care. He won't apply himself
and he refuses to make the slightest effort at mimicry, preferring to search through Chris' hair for nits with his strong bony fingers, or to attack some hard shelled nut or luscious fruit. Any attempt to secure Evans' attention is met with increasing grumpiness and truculence. The harder Chris tries, the more Evans resists or just ambles away. He can't help it, Evan's resistance makes him depressed and moody. It feels like a personal insult. Inside him a resentment festers that taints his feelings. He can no longer imagine why he found Evans so engaging. He begins to feel repulsed by the animal, to hate everything about Evans; the wispy ginger hair, the long bony prehensile feet, even the stupid name he himself has given him. Evans must have felt Chris' withdrawal. He no longer greets Chris, ignoring him from a corner. Chris spends longer and longer away from Evans, reading in his room or watching DVDs from the Sanctuary library. He spends more time too with Eva, the Dutch veterinary nurse who is teaching him Tai Chi. When Eva and Chris return from their week's Safari to Ancor Wat late one evening, Doctor Rosen the Sanctuary Director, is waiting at the gates. He seems subdued, taking Chris aside. ''You know we had a tragedy here while you were away'' he says. ''There was a rather nasty outbreak of some bug, we don't know what it was. It had all the makings of some kind of pneumonia. There was nothing we could do. It got a couple of the Capuchins. He looks away. '' I'm afraid that Evans must have picked it up too. He didn't survive. I'm sorry, I know you had got attached to him''.
Chris feels a stab of rising panic. He knows he has to stifle it before it grows and finds a personality, telling himself quickly that this was after all only an ape and pushing to one side the picture of the innocent upturned face and the large, soft, inquisitive brown eyes.
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