Jen's Reviews > Swann's Way

Swann's Way by Marcel Proust
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's review
Jan 18, 2010

liked it
Recommended to Jen by: everyone smart and clever
Recommended for: smart and clever readers mad for musings
Read from January 01, 2009 to January 05, 2010 , read count: 1

I want to write that Proust changed my life. He seems to have been just what so many others needed (just check out the glowing, frothy-mouthed reviews from nearly everyone). Unfortunately, I missed something in my months long reading of Swann's Way: a point. I know, I know, there isn't one...and that in itself is a point. Right? No? Can't I just turn in my literary snob card now and not be banished from GR? Because I need a plot, some kind of dramatic something. Something that pretends to be action. Something other than musing on musing, the product of an overactive, under-figmented imagination. And it's my fault I'm sure that I can't appreciate two pages of vague memories separated by commas without a period anywhere. But someone else out there feels like me, and that person made this:

So I'm not totally alone. But I'm sure that Proust lovers will hunt us down and beat us both up. And, in a rebellious gesture (that may well be my last- the vicious literary hordes are closing in)I offer up this, a textspeak summation of Swann's Way. Come get me, you philosophical devils!

Page One

OMG!!!I (heart- I don't know how to make one) mom.

Page, well, pick any page thereafter:

OMG! Flowers! Madelines! Table legs! Working women!

LMAO Mme. Verdurin!

:( Swann
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Reading Progress

07/01/2009 page 3 "Can't find my edition, hardback from 1956" 1 comment
07/03/2009 page 8 "A sleep number bed I've heard works wonders, little Prousty." 10 comments
07/05/2009 page 60 "Waiting for puberty." 3 comments
07/07/2009 page 71 "Got to the tea and madelines. Dear God." 1 comment
07/21/2009 page 106 "Proust does not trust my imagination at all. But at least now I know that a servant should "toil like a horse, well or ill."poor Francoise"
07/30/2009 page 123 "okay, I confess. There has been one passage that got me-" the holding out her flaming heart to God, like a corkscrew" part."
07/30/2009 page 135 "Bloch."
08/08/2009 page 178 "I still like Francoise."
08/12/2009 page 183 "Slooooow going. Legrandin's snobbery in a glance is activating some dead bad juju. My poor eighth grade self is remembering the pain."
08/14/2009 page 209 "The book is looking better now. I am starting to laugh."
08/25/2009 page 219 "Walking walking walking." 2 comments
08/29/2009 page 244 "And, finally, something happens! And spitting is involved."
09/01/2009 page 257 "Mme. Guermantes."
09/05/2009 page 273 "Parties."
09/08/2009 page 273 "Karen was right. Finally, Swann takes the book up a notch. So far I hate Odette and her neediness, her passive aggressive statements."
09/08/2009 page 287 "Karen was right. Finally, Swann takes the book up a notch. So far I hate Odette and her neediness, her passive aggressive statements." 3 comments
09/09/2009 page 323 ""his(Swann's) desires had always run counter to his aesthetic taste." [image error]"
09/09/2009 page 323 "see review"
09/11/2009 page 359 "So, I tried to post a picture of Odette versus a rosy cheeked milkmaid on the review. Didn't work. Swann- stick to the working girls!"
09/15/2009 page 368 "No one escapes the Proust character shredder."
09/30/2009 page 405 "Still reading. Marking pages."
10/02/2009 page 464 "Okay. Done."
10/02/2009 page 405 "I hate it when I update the wrong book. Sorry Proust. Not you."
10/12/2009 page 439 "Closer and closer to the end. Hallelujah!!!"
11/03/2009 page 469 "Uh oh. Wrong edition. I still have until page 611. Drat. Swann and Odette need to fistfight it out."
11/08/2009 page 488 "Princesse des Laumes. Clair de Lune. Steak au poivre. Nothing is making sense anymore, just wanting Swann to breathe Odette-less air."
11/13/2009 page 511 "The pain continues. Monocled men should know better."
12/10/2009 page 585 "611 pages in this edition- almost there, so close, so close, but there is no rushing Proust."
01/05/2010 page 611 "And done. No trumpets. But the next spoonful of sugar is going to have to be much bigger to make his medicine go down."
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Comments (showing 1-18 of 18) (18 new)

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message 1: by David (last edited Oct 20, 2009 07:58PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

David Katzman well? i wrote my review...where's yours???

message 2: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen I haven't finished yet. Sigh. Odette needs to die. Please please tell me that Swann clubs her in the head with one of her many bric-a-brac pieces from the Orient. I am smiling with glee over the prospect.

David Katzman oh, it's brutal how it turns out. but not that way.

message 4: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen Yeah, it was mentally brutal. Drugs other than caffeine and an occasional sudafed might have helped. Odette needs a theme song.

David Katzman hahah. I won't set wild dogs on you. Everyone needs to shout The Emperor Has No Clothes once in a while.

message 6: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen My favorite part was a very small bit overheard/seen between two special women friends.

David Katzman oh, yeah. That bit was crazy. For something so formal and literary, Proust turned over a lot of disturbing rocks. I think the book is as much about sexual obsession as it is about memory.

message 8: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen I thought that the young Marcel's obsession with Swann's daughter mirrored Swann's with Odette in many ways...I did dog ear a few passages, and most of them had to do with sexual relationships or the longing for them. I also bent over a few over-the-top examples of self-inflated Proust speak, intending to use them to inform my review. Instead, I prefered to go off-road and un-informed- it's the American way.

David Katzman It definitely did. Both never got the love they wanted, apparently. Although i'll have to read the following books to find out what happened to Swann's daughter. But she obviously scorned and rejected the narrator just as Odette scorned Swann. I am dying to find out how on earth Swann ended up marrying Odette but that will have to wait.

message 10: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen I'm not. Human stupidity has no bounds. But I'm surprised that Odette, vain creature, managed to have a child...between her parasol orders and shopping excursions for strange Oriental odds and ends. Maybe even the child was a revenge on Swann, her passive aggressive way of making him acknowledge her indiscretions by forcing him to either pretend the little one was his or realize that she was not and have to raise her least, that is what I would have written. But maybe that is too much action implied for Proust:)

David Katzman didn't the child have red hair? Which makes me think it actually was his child. I'm most surprised she was able to have one considering how she seems to have been ridden hard and put away wet by every Francois and Francine in town. You'd think she'd have gotten some kind of infection by the point they were married.

message 12: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen I guess I'll be finding out eventually. I am going to try to read the whole shebang because I feel as if I should attempt to appreciate it since so many count it as genius.

It probably won't work but I feel so inadequate at not being able to give this a higher rating. Perhaps I should just work harder at lying. I could re-write my review,it could crap my pants in an awesome way and then I might feel a worthier reader.

David Katzman Some authors are just not for everybody. I, for example, hate Seinfeld.

I'm pretty sure i've sent you this, right?

message 14: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen You hate Seinfeld? I pity you. It's everywhere! At least Proust isn't playing 24/7 somewhere.

message 15: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell David wrote: "Some authors are just not for everybody. I, for example, hate Seinfeld.
I'm pretty sure i've sent you this, right?"

I also hate Seinfeld! And god yes, it's everywhere.

message 16: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Ha, I remember after a couple of weeks of strenuous reading, I had gotten a little more than 1/3 of the way through volume 1, and looked at the next 2 volumes and was like...."I enjoyed this, but there are so many other books I could read in this amount of time," and never went back. Shameful, I know.

message 17: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen I'm just now seeing this comment. And that is shameful. Much more so than passing over Proust. Sorry Moira.

I understand the feeling of wanting to "push past the pain" and move on to other books, but I'm thinking I will try to read one Proust a year, just to make sure I am punishing myself properly for all the sins of my past life.

message 18: by Randy (new)

Randy Jen, you should have been booted from GR earlier for not telling all the froth-mouthed Proust Goon Squad to stuff it sooner than you did.

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