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Swann's Way (À la recherche du temps perdu #1)

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  29,364 Ratings  ·  2,211 Reviews
Swann's Way tells two related stories, the first of which revolves around Marcel, a younger version of the narrator, and his experiences in, and memories of, the French town Combray. Inspired by the "gusts of memory" that rise up within him as he dips a Madeleine into hot tea, the narrator discusses his fear of going to bed at night. He is a creature of habit and dislikes ...more
Paperback, 468 pages
Published November 30th 2004 by Penguin Classics (first published November 14th 1913)
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Gina If it makes you feel better, I know exactly how you feel! I'm slogging through this. Half the time, I am charmed by the Proust's craftsmanship of his…moreIf it makes you feel better, I know exactly how you feel! I'm slogging through this. Half the time, I am charmed by the Proust's craftsmanship of his words...just WOW! But usually that's after reading that particular passage three times because I get drowsy and fall asleep with the book on my face and I have to go back and reread :((less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Renato Magalhães Rocha
Reading a book for the first time is a great, exciting experience that packs a myriad of emotions and sensations: you’re happy because of the joy of starting another journey, anxious because of your expectations, curious because of the reviews you've read or things you’ve heard about the story… it’s something similar to going out on a first date, where everything is novelty and - if the book (the person) proves to be interesting indeed - you want to find out more and more. Once the initial excit ...more
Jan 21, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: rememberers of things past

Okay, well, I really screwed up my schedule this weekend, so now it's the latening am and nothing's happening for me in the sleep department. Honestly I can't think of a more appropriate time to review this book, which begins with insomnia.

This was great. It really was. Granted, it's not for everyone, but nor is it the rarified hothouse orchid cultured specifically and exclusively for an elite audience of fancy-pants dandies with endless supplies of Ritalin and time. This book is fascinati
Oct 05, 2015 Jibran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of quality literature
Recommended to Jibran by: Proustian friends
Shelves: fiction, top-favs, french
Reality takes shape in the memory alone.

I do not claim a decent knowledge of world literature, being as I still am no more than half a decade old in my English-language readings, so my acquaintance with A-class writers remains, at best, sketchy; but I feel no hesitation in claiming that there are two writers - Marcel Proust and Vladimir Nabokov - who make all wannabes look like silly dilettantes, whose artistic range, sheer eloquence and fierce intelligence have such a deleterious effect on so m
so i figured i would finally read me some proust, get in touch with my roots or whatnot. and i have to say, for my introduction, it was kind of a mixed bag. the first part i had real problems with. i am not a fan of precocious or sensitive children, so the whole first part was kind of a wash for me. i know, that's terrible, right?? here is this Monument of Great Literature, and i am annoyed, as though i were watching some children's production of oklahoma, or any musical, really. (shudder) there ...more
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." - Albert Einstein

I made acquaintance with Sir Einstein’s above observation more than two decades ago. It was precisely after the conclusion of my study-hour one evening, during which my father shared this quote with me, that I was struck by the uniqueness of such an expansive statement. For some fabulous reason, it stayed with me. As I grew up and began gaining the
Jun 07, 2016 Florencia rated it it was amazing
Proust so titillates my own desire for expression that I can hardly set out the sentence…
My great adventure is really Proust. Well—what remains to be written after that? I’m only in the first volume, and there are, I suppose, faults to be found, but I am in a state of amazement; as if a miracle were being done before my eyes. How, at last, has someone solidified what has always escaped—and made it too into this beautiful and perfectly enduring substance? One has to put the book down and gasp. T
Jeffrey Keeten
Feb 10, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-french
”At the hour when I usually went downstairs to find out what there was for dinner...I would stop by the table, where the kitchen-maid had shelled them, to inspect the platoons of peas, drawn up in ranks and numbered, like little green marbles, ready for a game; but what most enraptured me were the asparagus, tinged with ultramarine and pink which shaded their heads, finely stippled in mauve and azure, through a series of imperceptible gradations to their white feet--still stained a little by the ...more
Riku Sayuj

“As we, or mother Dana, weave and unweave our bodies, Stephen said, from day to day, their molecules shuttled to and fro, so does the artist weave and unweave his image.”

~ James Joyce, Ulysses

“The Universe is the externalization of the soul.”

~ Emerson

To attempt to review this now would be like trying to review a book after finishing the first couple of chapters. There is no way to do justice to it, or to even be sure of what one is prattling on about. So seasoned readers, please do excuse any
Ian "Marvin" Graye


For reasons that will become apparent, my review focuses not on the plot of the novel, but on its style and themes.

If you want to develop your own relationship with these aspects of the novel, then it might be better to turn away now.

This is partly why I paid little attention to the excellent discussion group at Proust 2013, before writing my review.

“Swann’s Way” is one of the most personal books ever written, and I want to define my personal relationship with it, without viewing i
Easter 2013.

When I reached the final pages of Du Côté de chez Swann, I knew that I hadn’t finished a book but that I’d simply begun one, that what I’d read were only the first chapters of a much longer work and that reading through the entire seven volumes of A la Recherche du Temps Perdu would be, to borrow one of Proust’s favourite images, like travelling on a very long and very beautiful train.
I realised that what I had done so far was simply to wander through the first few carriages of th
I think my original impetus for reading this was Thomas Disch's excellent short story "Getting into Death". Finding out that she probably only has a few weeks to live, the heroine immediately goes out, buys an edition of Proust, and starts reading. She's only able to relax once she's finished. Well, clearly, it had to be pretty good, and maybe I shouldn't wait until the last month of my life.

OK... it IS pretty good! Like all truly great novels, it's also very strange. Proust is just interested i

Reposting this review since it had been erroneously deleted.


It feels peculiar to write a review on Du côté de chez Swann given how many comments I have posted during the two months of our reading in the GoodReads Group “2013 The Year of Reading Proust”.

As I have read it in the original French my quotes come from the Gallimard edition.

Many of my posts have shown how fascinated I have been by the very visual writing of Marcel Proust. Colors, light and its effects, bounties of flowers, all
Paul Bryant
Note to all relevant parties : This book made me laugh and cry. I absolutely fell in love with the characters!



In series three of The Sopranos, Tony tells his therapist about his latest fainting spell which happened when he was cooking meat. Then he remembers his very first fainting spell, which happened a short time after he witnessed his father chop a guy's finger off with a meat cleaver. She says his very first attack happened when he short
Megan Baxter
May 19, 2014 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Swann's Way does not, say, have a lot of plot. At all. Let's get that out of the way upfront. If you're looking for a plot-driven story, look elsewhere. What it does is loop in and around certain topics, in the narrator's life and the life of Swann, and examine them in such minute detail, in such flowing prose from one moment to the next, looping around the events in question. And it is beautifully written.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads po
Emily May
I have removed my initial three star rating for this and settled with a blank rating. This is because I cannot in any way say what I want to say about this book with goodreads stars. I had given it three stars because of my indecision, it seemed like a good idea to just stick my rating somewhere in the middle when I couldn't make my mind up. The problem is that on goodreads three stars means "I liked it", which, unfortunately, I didn't. Two stars means "it was ok", but that's not an accurate des ...more


For a long time I used to read really bad books. I have mentioned this before but it’s more like a reminder for me about how much 'bad' bad can get and how much 'good' reading good books feels like. DAMN GOOD! I owe my knowledge of all those good books entirely to goodreads. So as far as I was concerned, the last quarter of 2012 was all about reading Infinite Jest, about David Foster Wallace and about reading and loving him. But there was another name that was doing the rounds of this ha
Ahmad Sharabiani
685. Remembrance of Things Past, Marcel Proust
A la Recherche du Temps perdu - Du côté de chez Swann (À la recherche du temps perdu #1), Marcel Proust
در جستجوی زمان از دست رفته - مارسل پروست (مرکز) ادبیات
عنوان: در جستجوی زمان از دست رفته، کتاب اول: طرف خانه سوان؛ نویسنده: مارسل پروست؛ مترجم: مهدی سحابی؛ تهران، نشر مرکز، 1369، شابک: 9643054810؛ چاپ دهمم 1389؛ موضوع: داستان نویسندگان فرانسه - قرن 20 م
کتاب نخست: طرف خانه سوان؛ کتاب دوم: در سایه دوشیزگان شکوفا؛ کتاب سوم: طرف گرمانت 1؛ کتاب چهارم: طرف
Jun 04, 2012 Sparrow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Twilight fans
Painting of Swann, by David Richardson, with the caption, 'I gave the bitch a cattleya; bitches love cattleyas.'
(Painting of Swann, by David Richardson)

In some ways, maybe, both love and destruction come to us, seek us out, and we are powerless to pursue or avoid them. I tend to think that is not the case, but I am often wrong, and I am too willing to make grand pronouncements about life to be unwilling to be called wrong. Or, as my friend says of herself, I am never wrong because if I hear an idea that is better than mine, I change my mind to that idea, and then I am right again. Anyway, in Swann’s Way,
You stand at a mirror, or what you think is a mirror, for you can see yourself in it well enough. But the image is not steady, parts of your face are blurring and sections of your body are stretching, and all the colors flow like oil. You reach out a hand to steady it, and the reflection ripples, your fingers sink into surface and touch something cool and curved, an arched web running its backbone beneath. Try as you might, you cannot stop it from moving, and finally in frustration you grab at t ...more
Mar 24, 2013 Rowena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, french-lit
“Will it reach the surface of my limpid consciousness- this memory, this old moment which the attraction of an identical moment has come so far to summon, to move, to raise up from my very depths? I don’t know. Now I no longer feel anything, it has stopped, gone back down perhaps; who knows if it will ever rise up from its darkness again?”

Swann’s Way is an elegantly-written book that consists of past memories and reminiscences. The two main stories in the book follow the narrator’s childhood mem
My name is Emma and I am a tea addict and a Proust Virgin.

Well, not anymore I'm not! I've only drunk 5 cups of tea today AND I have just finished Swann's Way. My life is turning around.

I had some pre-conceptions about Monsieur Proust; he lived in my ‘too difficult’ pile, along with Joyce and VAT. I never would have picked him up if it wasn’t for the group read on this site, I thought if I get stuck, ya’ll could explain what was the hell was going on.

Reading Swann’s Way turned out to be a uniqu
Richard Derus
Apr 30, 2013 Richard Derus rated it it was amazing
Book Circle Reads 145

Rating: 5* of five

The Publisher Says: Penguin really skimped on this one--Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time is one of the most entertaining reading experiences in any language and arguably the finest novel of the twentieth century. But since its original prewar translation there has been no completely new version in English. Now, Penguin Classics brings Proust's masterpiece to new audiences throughout the world, beginning with Lydia Davis's internationally acclaimed tra
What follows is a collection of thoughts and notes that I have finally transcribed from post-its, napkin doodlings, margin scribbles and ideas floating around in my brain for weeks. Please forgive its faults and incompleteness. I hope there is something in it of sense to be retrieved:

I. Seeing

“Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

A couple of years ago I started to lose my sight. Oh, it’s nothing drastic. Just one of those things that my mother was
This is the second time I have read Du côté de chez Swann (Swann's Way). The first time was in college, during a course on twentieth century literature, when we were assigned the first two sections ("Combray"* and "Un amour de Swann"; I later read the last section so that I could at least say I'd finished the book). I got very confused about the philosophical and aesthetic concepts in the book, probably because I was trying to write an enormously complicated paper comparing Proust with Gide, Sar ...more

"narratives we have written inside of us, those that make us who we are."

There are books that we are supposed to read or our reading is not taken to be complete - it's like the seven wonders of the world — you may choose not to visit them but seeing them will somehow make you a part of their cultural heritage & history. Proust's ISoLTis one such cultural landmark. In his obssesive recollection of memories, the writer has also captured the charm & the vanity of belle époque life and cultu
I came into The Year of Proustifarian Delights accompanied by a vague dread, worried that I was embarking upon a seven-book voyage of joyless obligation that would ultimately prove I have too much dullard in me to chug along with anything other than the empty appearance of rapt literary euphoria. I feared that I'd be approaching these books like they were the kind of high-school required reading that sucks all the fun from the one pastime that's stuck with me ever since I learned how to unlock t ...more
Jan 06, 2017 Phrynne rated it liked it
Shelves: 4000-books
Well I have finished the first book of this classic masterpiece and I am glad it is done. To me the book has moments of brilliance but they are drowned by long, heavy paragraphs of description. I know it is beautiful description, but there is just too much of it and I eventually suffered brain freeze. I did wonder from time to time if the translation was to blame but sadly my French is not good enough to try the original.
So I am happy to acknowledge that that this is a very worthy book and I am
Rakhi Dalal
Mar 11, 2013 Rakhi Dalal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rakhi by: Kris
Shelves: favorites
“But it was also by the force of inertia; there was in his soul that want of adaptability which can be seen in the bodies of certain people who, when the moment comes to avoid a collision, to snatch their clothes out of reach of a flame, or to perform any other such necessary movement, take their time (as the saying is), begin by remaining for a moment in their original position, as though seeking to find in it a starting-point, a source of strength and motion.”

The unflinching pursuance of mind,
Jan 10, 2016 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“One cannot change, that is to say become a different person, while continuing to acquiesce to the feelings of the person one has ceased to be.”
― Marcel Proust, Swann's Way


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. (440 pages of the 3365 total pages), I feel a compelling need to keep going.

This novel is preoccupied with all the details that surround time, des
Mar 09, 2011 tim rated it it was amazing
My goodness, Proust could write. Had he chosen to describe paint drying on a wall (which for all I know he did), he would have transformed that dull event into a profound experience as moving as a passionately executed piano sonata. At first I admit I wasn’t sure how I was going to do with the musings of an overly precocious mama’s boy. But it didn’t take long for me to respect Proust for introducing himself as an needy and overly-sensitive young boy. Such as when he would be sent upstairs to hi ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Monsieur Proust
  • The Immoralist
  • Life: A User's Manual
  • Paintings in Proust: A Visual Companion to In Search of Lost Time
  • Mademoiselle de Maupin
  • Lost Illusions (La Comédie Humaine)
  • The Country Waif (Francois Le Champi)
  • Pages from the Goncourt Journals
  • Le Grand Meaulnes
  • The Masterpiece (Les Rougon-Macquart, #14)
  • Marcel Proust
  • Three Tales
  • L'Œuvre au noir
  • The Gods Will Have Blood
  • The Charterhouse of Parma
  • Against Nature
  • Witch Grass
French novelist, best known for his 3000 page masterpiece À la recherche du temps perdu (Remembrance of Things Past or In Search of Lost Time), a pseudo-autobiographical novel told mostly in a stream-of-consciousness style. Born in the first year of the Third Republic, the young Marcel, like his narrator, was a delicate child from a bourgeois family. He was active in Parisian high society during t ...more
More about Marcel Proust...

Other Books in the Series

À la recherche du temps perdu (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower (In Search of Lost Time, #2)
  • The Guermantes Way  (In Search of Lost Time, #3)
  • Sodom and Gomorrah (In Search of Lost Time, #4)
  • La Prisonnière (À la recherche du temps perdu, #5)
  • Albertine disparue (À la recherche du temps perdu, #6)
  • Time Regained (In Search of Lost Time, #7)
  • In Search of Lost Time, Vol. 1: Swann's Way & Within a Budding Grove, Part 1
  • In Search of Lost Time, Vol. 2: Within a Budding Grove, Part 2 & The Guermantes' Way
  • In Search of Lost Time, Vol. 3: Sodom and Gomorrah & The Captive
  • In Search Of Lost Time, Vol. 4: The Fugitive & Time Regained

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“Always try to keep a patch of sky above your life.” 1825 likes
“The thirst for something other than what we have…to bring something new, even if it is worse, some emotion, some sorrow; when our sensibility, which happiness has silenced like an idle harp, wants to resonate under some hand, even a rough one, and even if it might be broken by it.” 167 likes
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