This is a horror story of a different kind having it's roots based in real life events. A story I knew nothing about until it was briefly mentioned inThis is a horror story of a different kind having it's roots based in real life events. A story I knew nothing about until it was briefly mentioned in The Tropic of Cancer and I read this book. The French's gathering and deportation of the Jews in France known as Vel' d'Hiv round up. Most people seem to be familiar with the German and Polish ones but this one managed to remain under the radar until recently.
Using alternating chapters of their stories helped with building an eventual congruence between the two main characters. I really would have preferred more of Sarah and less of Julia but that may have lessened the impact of how their lives intersected. I found I just couldn't get as emotionally involved with Julia's family drama as I could with Sarah's but she was needed to bring Sarah's tale to a conclusion.
How terrifying the Holocaust was but hearing it from a child's perspective just drives that home so much more. Not to mention a side tragedy which is actually the center of Sarah's story and perhaps her life changing moment and not the round up itself.
This is well worth reading for the history despite the predictable ending and somewhat lacking prose. Ms de Rosnay has some talent but needs to give her characters and stories a bit more depth....more
Now I know why I was having trouble with this book. Proust's words as per usual, drip off the page like an overflowing honey pot but that can't hide tNow I know why I was having trouble with this book. Proust's words as per usual, drip off the page like an overflowing honey pot but that can't hide the subject matter which is social climbing and snobbery. I realize the last two books were based on this but in this volume our narrator is so obsessed with it that it often overshadows some of the beautiful writing.
When I managed to push that into the background the words once again began to flow and ebb with Proust's moods and the subjects he was putting to pen. I am back to the writer I love! It also helped that I searched out and read a few articles about The Dreyfus Affair. This also led to me wanting to read more by Emile Zola, the second great writer I have been led to by reading Proust. Not including himself.
I'm starting to feel like a tongue tied school girl when it comes to my praise of what I do love about Proust's books. I just can't seem to articulate things and I'm not good at pulling quotes as there are just too many. There are moments when the Narrator's comeuppance comes that are so painfully well written it made me wince but it was well deserved and I'm hoping to see more personal growth in the following volumes.
Leave it to say I'm eager to finish this series but because I want to get it over with....more
I have thought long and hard about this review and the last thing I want to do is damn this work with faint praise. So I'll make a few observations inI have thought long and hard about this review and the last thing I want to do is damn this work with faint praise. So I'll make a few observations instead.
Obsession continues to be the mainstay of in this volume The first half of the book is the Narrator with his obsession with Gilberte which is unremitted and Swann with being an incessant name dropper and having a place in society. Odette seems more content with her place in it for now.
For a country that went through a painful revolution to equalize society it almost seems it was a failure when so many are worried about about everyone's position. Here's where I think this story really begins to shine. While the Narrator observes this going on all around him it takes a back seat to his new interest Albertine which consumes the second half of the book.
He sometimes makes scathing and unflattering comments on who and what surrounds him but with a fresh and not a jaded view as many of his contemporaries. This being done with Proust's deft hand at feelings and descriptions. We never have to worry about character development with his writing. It's a natural flow.
I'm anticipating more great inner visuals and passages that continue descriptive contemplation and observation as the Narrator matures, in himself, his surroundings and in his relations to others. One of my favourites being his description of Rivebelle....more
This is not at all what I expected. I kind of feared this would a stodgy morality story and in a way it was a morality play but it was far from stodgyThis is not at all what I expected. I kind of feared this would a stodgy morality story and in a way it was a morality play but it was far from stodgy. I can't count the number of times it made me genuinely laugh because of the brilliant satire.
Our main protagonist Julien seems to be a massive collection of contradictions. He adores Napoleon but hides that to become a member of the clergy. He disparages the rich bourgeois yet aspires to become one. He calls himself a fool and immature for getting angry at others yet he doesn't seem to have problem duelling or using his pistols on others. He's a bit of a cad but you still find yourself cheering him on.
The history lessons written here were invaluable but subtle. I learned a lot more about that time period than I would have from a book solely written on the subject but without realizing it. I know that wasn't the intention of the book but it was a great by product.
I was fortunate enough to have read a good translation of this which I really think makes a huge difference....more
As just about everyone that admires this work has praised it far better than I ever can I will only say this.
If you are a reader that skim reads thenAs just about everyone that admires this work has praised it far better than I ever can I will only say this.
If you are a reader that skim reads then don't even bother with this as you will get nothing out of it. Each sentence and description must be read in full to appreciate Proust. (I wish I could read it in French).
If you don't want to think even a little bit then again, don't bother. This book makes you think. Well maybe it doesn't make you but it highly encourages it.
If you like stories about love and obsession then DO read this book.
If you are scared of reading this work then DON'T be. It's far more accessible than you think.
If you think this is only for snobs. It isn't. Only a love of good writing is required. ...more
I have to get one thing out of the way. The forward of this book states that Matthew Ward's translation is a more accurate version. That may well be sI have to get one thing out of the way. The forward of this book states that Matthew Ward's translation is a more accurate version. That may well be so but I found this very stilted and with a total lack of flow that makes reading enjoyable. I may have to find a different version as that almost ruined the book for me.
Now onto the book itself. The main question for me, is Meursault a sociopath? I would like to say yes but that's too easy of an answer. A lack of caring for a mother may stem from anything. I'm sure there are more than a few out there that would agree with that. He does state that he doesn't know how to feel but does that mean he can't feel? Does a lack of religious faith also equal a sociopath? To me it signifies a person that can think for themselves.
Such a little book and so much packed into it. I'll be thinking on this one for a long time and I have a feeling that rereading may not make the answers any clearer but reread it I shall. Such is philosophy....more