The Guermantes Way : Remembrance of Things Past

  • by Marcel Proust
  • Narrated by Neville Jason
  • Series: Remembrance of Things Past
  • 28 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.
The Guermantes Way is the third of seven volumes. The narrator penetrates the inner sanctum of Paris high society and falls in love with the fascinating Duchesse de Guermantes. Proust describes vividly the struggles for political, social, and sexual supremacy played out beneath a veneer of elegant manners. He also finds himself pursued by the predatory Baron de Charlus.

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Customer Reviews

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Perfect, Fantastical

Originally published in two parts, the third part of Proust's mammoth work is equally gigantic in its audiobook form (it's 28 hours long). Yet whereas I found the second part, "Within a Budding Grove", a step down in form, this is as brilliant as they come.

Two things stand out. Firstly, The first part of the volume includes not only remarkably penetrating wit, which Proust has in abundance, but also the most devastasting tableau of sickness, withering and death. His wrenching clear-sightedness and the ability to verbalize borders on medically objective descriptiveness at times, and passionately emotional at others.

Secondly, Monsieur de Charlus. He is a fantastically written character, a monomaniac of epic proportions with paroxysms of repressed aggression that transcend even Ahab's biblical ravings.

I think it was Nabokov who described Proust's chief d'oeuvre as "fantasy" (again, I think he preferred to the first half of the seven-part work), a definition befitting Proust's fantastical sense of reality, not only his own but that of his contemporaries and characters. What makes Proust so wonderful a teacher of human character is his ability to see beyond this reality and reach to the conditional, the possible, as well as the impossible; imagined conversations that we project onto characters, conversations that never took place that still define social relations. In short, all the stuff human culpability in falsely attributing characteristics to other people based on misinterpretation, it's all here.

Proust doesn't give any answers, that's for sure, but he's the most acutely clear-sighted observer of our condition in Western literature since Shakespeare has offered. Okay, fine praise and just the kind of name-dropping and hyperbole that says absolutely nothing other than emphasizing my enthusiasm for Proust. But I can't help it, the familiar memes that we recycle over and over again are the only things in my disposal that I can throw at you. I'll stop raving now and instead go listen the next volume, "Sodom and Gomorrah".

[I finished listening to this in early September but only had time to post this review now]
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- Antti

The perfect narrator for the perfect book

Proust - coy, anxious, detached, waspish, flirtatious, prolix, detached, judgemental, effete, offhand, dreamy ... Audible have found the perfect narrator to capture that proustian voice and I'm looking forward to the full 150 hours of wandering sentences and tragic crushes. Having never managed to finish RTP on paper, having it as an audiobook fills up the next year very nicely for me.

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- Jo

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-04-2012
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks