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In Search of Lost Time: The Way by Swann's Kindle Edition
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|Length: 477 pages||Word Wise: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
I read it first in French when I was 19 (but it was too much for me to take in), then in English (but for some reason it was also too much for me to take in). I've re-tried a few times, but really got nowhere. I appreciated it aesthetically, but not emotionally, I found it trying despite my best intentions. Then, having found my love of fiction on the wane over the last few years (I don't know why) - but still desperate to read - I picked up this translation, but with little hope. However I find I'm cramming as much in as I can before bed, again in the morning over breakfast, at lunch if I can...if you'd told me one day that I was carrying Proust around everywhere with me, finding it very difficult to put down, I wouldn't have believed you!
Like someone who's had a religious epiphany, I want to share it with everyone, but the experience is so personal in some way that I can't find the words without sounding bonkers! I think it's absolutely wonderful.
Someone said of Wagner's Parsifal that it's the kind of opera that starts at six o'clock and after it has been going three hours you look at your watch and it says 6.20. Well, that's nothing to how I feel about Swann's Way. Endless, endless pages about what he thought as a child when trying to sleep, some reasonably well observed but incredibly laboured social comedy (I use the word comedy in its loosest sense), monumental quantities of minutiae about uninteresting characters (in which I include the narrator) and an overriding sense of someone utterly self-obsessed – and who is determined to visit the obsession mercilessly on everyone else. I was irritated and, frankly, bored witless; when I saw that, after a long, serious struggle through really quite a lot (it seemed to me), my Kindle said "8h 07m left in book" I heard Billy Connolly in my head saying, "Oh, d'ya bloody think so?"
I gave up. Seven volumes of this? *Seven*? Sheesh! Does anyone know the French for "For heavens' sake get over yourself"?
And now, following the effortful and emotionally enervating distress of having composed this piece, reminding me irresistibly of the long years of suffering in education (the subject of volumes 23-47 of my proposed masterwork), I feel the distressing stirrings of the need to go and do something else.Read more ›
There's actually nothing `difficult' about his style (as perhaps there is with someone like Joyce or Faulkner). The experience is rather like sitting comfortably in an open boat being carried rapidly, but not too rapidly, along a river. The scenery is varied and exquisite. Occasionally, the boat enters a slower stretch of water. However, you are so relaxed that you accept the change readily. Eventually, you move back into the faster water, feeling even more receptive to your rich surroundings.
Of course, this feeble simile doesn't do the book justice. Let's just say it's an experience well worth having. Oh, and parts of the books are really quite funny. For example, the descriptions of M. and Mme. Verdurin. I'm looking forward to reading the other volumes.
October 2012 update: I'm on the sixth volume and my admiration for Proust is now boundless. Every paragraph seems to contain insight or wisdom about the human condition and how we frame and process ideas and memories of the people we love, both while they're living and after they're dead.
Here's a more or less random extract: "We exist only by virtue of what we possess, we possess only what is really present to us, and so many of our memories, our humours, or ideas set out to voyage far away from us, until they are lost to sight! Then we can no long make them enter into our reckoning of the total which is our personality. But they know of secret paths by which to return to us. And on certain nights ...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book itself is a wonderful, endlessly rewarding read, but the Penguin edition is printed on such cheap, low grade paper that print from the previous page is discernible as a... Read morePublished 7 months ago by MichaelB
pretentious nonsense, does not come up for air and lives in a world of the rich and privilegedPublished 8 months ago by P
Beautiful translation that I'm enjoying reading very slowly when I'm not feeling rushed in any way.Published 9 months ago by Jane Bushby
A lot of good writing proficiency but let down by a pure lack of substance and mind-numblingly boring to boot, the only book i have ever thrown in the Bin!!Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
Reading this book could be a very large undertaking as you are committing to read all six volumes. I have never got through all six but have read the first half of this volume... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Dr. J. W. H.