Swann's Way (Marcel Proust)

Article by mark

Swann's Way (Penguin Classics) Cover Image
By Marcel Proust, Lydia Davis (Translator), Lydia Davis (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780142437964
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - November 30th, 2004

I knew beforehand that IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME dealt with the nature of time, of memory and recollection. Once I began the novel, I was seduced by the language. What language! I’d compare the book to observing a beautiful French landscape: the movement is slow, almost glacial, but it’s gorgeous to look at. And, by looking (well, reading), one slowly surrenders to the words and the place. When the reader can slow down and allow the language to wash over them, the story unfolds like a highly detailed pastoral. It takes some discipline. Events happen slowly; action develops (if it develops at all) at its own idle pace. This contradiction to the touch-screen immediacy of our daily lives highlights the difference between the world we inhabit and the one we’ve entered. Anyone immersed in the anxieties of our information-saturated age will enter Combray, France and feel they’ve arrived in an alien landscape. SWANN’S WAY is an interior book: the thoughts of a particular mind resolving to reflect, illustrating the significance of recollection, not only in the life of the author, but in everyone’s life.

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