Remembrance of Things Past is one of the monuments of 20th-century literature. Neville Jason’s widely praised abridged version has rightly become an audiobook landmark, and now, upon numerous requests, he is recording the whole work unabridged which, when complete, will run for some 140 hours.
Swann’s Way is the first of seven volumes and sets the scene with the narrator’s memories being famously provoked by the taste of that little cake, the madeleine, accompanied by a cup of lime-flowered tea. It is an unmatched portrait of fin-de-siècle France.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
Public Domain (P)2012 Naxos AudioBooks
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Antti on 11-08-13

Life, A User's Manual

To some extent writing about a single book in Marcel Proust's seven-part "À la recherché du temps perdu", more accurately translated as "In Search of Lost Time" but in Moncrieff's translation having the title "Remembrance of Things Past", is actually writing about the whole series. But since I am listening to the whole of it, I'll be writing about them individually as well.

I'm by no means unfamiliar with Proust, having read seven tenths of it in Finnish, my first language, in which it has been released in ten volumes instead of the original seven ("Swann's Way" is divided in two volumes, as is "Within a Budding Grove" and "Guermantes' Way"). It'll be, then, a nice experience to return to it and ultimately go all the way.

Proust's writing works wonderfully in the audiobook format. The way his language builds up, all the allegories and metaphors stacked upon each other and how the currents of thought swerve having been recalled by any minute detail, all this works beautifully when one reads the book but exceptionally well when one is read to. In this respect Neville Jason's narration is superb. He takes his time, not procrastinating but certainly not hurrying.

Equally importantly his reading brings out the humour in Proust. And what a hoot this book really is! The dinner party at Combray and a certain episode about complementing the wine brought by Swann is hilarious on page and is really brought to life when heard out loud. Many other instances work just as wonderfully, including the Verdurin episodes in all their glorious absurdity.

And then there's Swann himself and his love and infatuation for Odette. At the same time fervent, life-affirming, destructive and inescapable, the irrationality with which Proust paints Swann's actions, or rather, the movements of his soul, only reinforces the believability of his neurotic obsession. His story is framed by the Narrator's own insecurity in love, first toward his mother at Combray, then for Gilberte.

I know how I'll be spending my next credits.

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Mr on 14-04-13

Hard going as an audiobook

This is undoubtedly a great classic, though one that requires patience and concentration. It's all in the detail and minutiae, the process of remembering and trying to capture fleeting impressions and feelings from the narrator's childhood and then the perspective of Swann. The canvas is small but the detail incredibly rich, like a Persian miniature, and for the audiobook, Neville Jason does a great job to narrate with unflagging passion and feeling over such a sustained period. I must confess, however, that I drifted off quite often, and found it hard to maintain interest compared to other books where a more muscular plot pulls you along without effort. On the upside, it's split into 10 minute sections so you can swallow it down like medicine once or twice a day before switching to something easier going.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Nancy on 19-02-13


Absolutely captivating and stunning. The narration is outstanding - a delight to listen to and extremely well modulated. Do not allow pre-conceived notions regrading Proust hinder your taking this most worthy journey...cannot wait to continue the series.

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13 of 13 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Darwin8u on 24-02-13

Not a book one reads but inhabits & floats through

For years, I have put off reading Proust mainly because the size of In Search of Lost Time/Remembrance of Things Past seemed intimidating. Now, having finished Swann's Way: Vol 1, I feel a compelling need to keep going.

This novel is preoccupied with all the details that surround time, desire, love, memory, happiness, life, truth, names and relationships. It is vivid, detailed and reminds the reader to look, feel, grab, smell, think, confess, and take big risks to grow that one perfect, mystic blossom of love.

Proust's prose is beautiful, his imagery is brilliant and he seems to swing for the fence on every page. This is not a book one reads, but one inhabits and floats through. But first one must find and dip your own Madeleine.

Neville's reading is brilliant.

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38 of 41 people found this review helpful

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