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Swann'S Way Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook
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Top Customer Reviews
Most recently, I re-experienced SWANN'S WAY through the Modern Library's new, 2003 revision of the Montcrieff/Kilmartin translation of Proust's IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME, Volumes I through VI. Through an illuminating series of what Walter Pater has called "privileged moments," or what James Joyce might call "epiphanies," the narrative in SWANN'S WAY tells a dual story of unrequited love. The taste of a madeleine pastry brings with it a flood of childhood memories from the narrator's youth spent in Combray and Paris, mostly relating to his infatuation with Charles Swann's daughter, Gilberte, and Swann's obsessive affair with a courtesan, Odette de Crecy. Although Swann realizes Odette is not his type (p. 543) and suspects she is a liar, his jealous love for her consumes him. Odette is unsophisticated, has lesbian tendencies, and is rumored to be a prostitute. Even after he acknowledges he has "wasted years of [his] life" on Odette (p. 543), Swann is nevertheless powerless to end their turbulent relationship. For Proust, human love becomes synonymous with suffering, failure, exhaustion, ruin, and despair (p. xviii) except, that is, for the love between a mother and son (symbolized in SWANN'S WAY by a memorable goodnight kiss, which leaves the young narrarator longing to tell his mother, "Kiss me just once more")(p. 15).Read more ›
Many times as I read this book, I found myself pausing, almost pained at the beauty of the language. I have read many authors, and have never read such beautiful words; his descriptions seem so divine, and yet he spends the first part of the book saying that he himself can't write! It's one of those moments where you want to shake the author with mental fists, but it's okay; it adds flavour.
Proust is probably among the greatest novelists of history (probably one down after Dostoevsky). The title of the series "In Search of Lost Time," immediately gives you the clue of what the theme shall be; moments of wasted time, moments of bliss that you wish to recapture, memories long gone that you wish you could recapture. But, that is the essense of life.
This constant play between perception through the senses, the idealized image, and their interaction, and the character's responses to this constant flux of the real and the imagined, is the central theme of this text. The central character of the second chapter, Swann in Love, is hopelessly seduced by the coquettish, Odette. She draws Swann into her world and, over time, her indifference and listlessness, her unpredictable irritability and at times chilly manner towards him, causes Swann to suffer. But the reader gets the impression that Swann tends towards masochism, and in a perverse way, enjoys the pain. Swann's taste in women has always tended towards those below his social station - the shopgirl, the worker's daughter or the prostitute.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Full, a filling experience like walking through a dense forest full of things you have never noticed before. From a different age, but still human.Published 4 months ago by rod baker
I wish I hadn't waited so long to experience Proust, for now having read "Swann's Way," I see that his deeply sensitive prose is a reference point for almost all of the... Read morePublished on June 18 2003 by A.J.
This is the first of the seven volumes of the widely known but not always read "A la recherche du temps perdu". Read morePublished on June 14 2003 by C. Mejía
We apply "classic" and "masterpiece" too liberally, but regardless of how loosely or strictly we deploy the terms, Marcel's Proust's extraordinary novel belongs... Read morePublished on April 24 2003 by Robert Moore
This book is the entrance into another world, as finely detailed and exquisitely convoluted as a Mandelbrot Set. Read morePublished on March 5 2003 by D. R. Greenfield
I approached this book with some trepidation. Did I really want to start a 6-volume project? Was it as inaccessible as some have said it is? Read morePublished on Jan. 3 2003 by Fuat C. Baran
I have read that there are better translations out there and would like some feedback on which is the most accessible while retaining Proust's qualities and style. Read morePublished on Dec 11 2002 by Geoffrey P. Tucker
I tried 3 times in my twenties to read "Swann's Way", the first volume in Proust's 4000-page epic novel, "In Search of Lost Time", and could not do it. No patience. Read morePublished on Dec 3 2002 by bruce hutton