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Swann's Way is Marcel Proust's literary masterpiece and the first part of the multivolume audiobook Remembrance of Things Past.
In the opening volume, the narrator travels back in time to recall his childhood and to introduce the listener to Charles Swann, a wealthy friend of the family and celebrity in the Parisian social scene. He again travels back, this time to the youth of Charles Swann in the French town of Combray, to tell the story of the love affair that took place before his own birth. The jealous love that Swann feels for the courtesan Odette, is a foretelling of the narrator's own future relationships.
Proust paints an unforgettable, scathing and at times comic portrait of French society at the close of the 19th century and reveals a profound vision of obsessive love. The remarkable details from his memory are the fundamental triumph of the audiobook; details like his younger self's desperate need for a goodnight kiss from his mother.
In 1922, Virginia Woolf marvelled, 'Oh if I could write like that!'
Many adaptations have been made of Swann's Way including the 1984 English language film, Swann in Love, starring Jeremy Irons, and a graphic novel by French comic artist Stéphane Heuet that was first published in 1998.
Whilst training at the Birmingham School of Speech and Drama, John Rowe did his first radio plays for the BBC before spending several years acting in repertory theatre. He then joined the BBC's Radio Drama Company at Broadcasting House and after a three year stint on stage with the Prospect Company at The Old Vic he became a committed radio actor. He is well known for his role as Professor Jim Lloyd in The Archers. He has not only worked extensively in radio but also in television and film, as well as narrating many audiobooks, including Within a Budding Grove by Marcel Proust. His film appearances have included The Heart of Me (2002) and Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001). He has most recently appeared on onscreen in the Netflix series The Crown (2016) and the BBC TV series Broken (2017).
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- Ms. Cf Dunmore
I only listened to one part of this - the story of Swann falling in love with Odette de Crecy - which was absolutely brilliant. I have to be honest - I ditched it after that - life's too short, etc etc.
It's so well written and observed.
No, but I would. He's very good.
Yes! Swann is unlikeable but you can't help but pity him when he gets a taste of his own medicine.