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What can I say that hasn't been already stated in the reviews I've written for the other six volumes? I started listening to "The Swann's Way" in June 2013, and now, 2 years and 5 months later, the sense of despair that had first replaced that initial sense of excitement and ambition is long gone. There's the sense of sadness, like seeing a loved one leave, or that sense of grateful, reverential awe one might feel when looking at the stars at night, and wondering about our smallness in the vastness of space and the universe.
"In Search of Lost Time" is an impossible work, so accessible in its inaccessibility, a marvel to behold, let alone think that it exists at all, that there was a man like Proust to create art like it.
There's so much enjoyment in not only the universally grand but the minutiae of a moment that it's like reading a vast catalog of humanity and still facing a haiku by Bashô. I wrote of "The Guermantes Way," my favourite of the whole series, that it has "the most devastating tableau of sickness, withering and death." But whereas in the earlier volumes death has been a personal guest, visiting the families through illness, this time death is afar in the rumbling of the bombers, and in the trenches. In this volume, men simply disappear from the world having died in the war, or deteriorate into beings that are mere shadows of their former selves. Proust makes his primary theme, time, work powerfully, through this inevitability of life, as all of his characters, without overt drama, simply play their part on his stage for a time and fade as the predestined curtain falls, and with it the perennial darkness.
I'm already almost halfway through Tolstoy's "War and Peace," likewise narrated by Neville Jason. What a man! Thanks to him, we have Proust, unabridged, available to us wherever we go. I like that thought a lot, since having read and listened to Proust, one starts to feel that we carry him with us anyway, such an interpreter he is of the ebbing and flowing of what makes us human.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
Wow, Proust kills it with this last book in his masterpiece In Search of Lost Time. He pulls it all together. I loved Proust's reflections on literary and artistic creation, reality, memory, pain, death and time -- and how in 'Time Regained' he draws all his themes together.
About 2/3 into 'Time Regained' the book started to swarm with emotional, intellectual, and experiential energy. You can feel Proust near a climax. IT is like the last movement of a great classical piece. The book feels like all his themes and fugues are twisting together, increasing in tempo, and taking a firmer shape: page by page, word after word.
I'm almost sad that it is over. There are few books I've ever wanted to start reading/listening to again immediately after finishing. Today as I was setting down 'Time Regained', I almost reached for 'Swann's Way'. I feel like there was so much I missed, whole sections that I just didn't get in the beginning. Gems that dropped between the pages of my cognition.
At the same time, I think that is the essence of Proust: the recognition that in the end, his novel is just us. My same need or desire to go back and read 'In Search of Lost Time' again is similar to my desire to go back into my own past and re-experience my youth with the knowledge I have now. It is a futile, but a very human desire. It is an impulse created by recognizing the expanse and limitations of time and memory. The genius of Proust is his ability to transport the reader to that point where we recognize the art within our own lives at the intersection of our memory and experience.
I'm glad I had the audiobook version to help me pace through this masterpiece.
27 of 27 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of Time Regained to be better than the print version?
Audio and print complement each other. I enjoy both
What was one of the most memorable moments of Time Regained?
Madame Verdurain carrying on about her salons as if the war weren't raging miles away. What an ear Proust has!
What about Neville Jason’s performance did you like?
Excellent all the way through.
Any additional comments?
It is terrible that Audible does not see fit to acknowledge the translator of non-English books! Proust wrote in French. Neville Jason reads in impeccable English. Who translated this? There are many translations and all serious readers want to know who has done the work, and when. I have searched high and low at Audible and Naxos and found nothing. A disgrace, if not actionable....
8 of 8 people found this review helpful