Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Swann's Way” as Want to Read:
Swann's Way
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book

Swann's Way

(À la recherche du temps perdu #1)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  54,424 ratings  ·  4,502 reviews
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 brings Proust's masterpiece to new audiences throughout the world, beginning with Lydia Davis's internat ...more
Paperback, Deluxe Edition, 444 pages
Published November 30th 2004 by Penguin Classics (first published November 14th 1913)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Swann's Way, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Leanne Kidd For me, it has been the opposite experience. I LOVE this book so much that I can't wait to get home and read!
What can happen, if you allow it, is you …more
For me, it has been the opposite experience. I LOVE this book so much that I can't wait to get home and read!
What can happen, if you allow it, is you get lulled into a kind of meditation, lost with him in his thought world. And once you emerge, if you have paid close attention without having expectations of how and what should happen next, you will feel like you have been on a journey with a dear friend.
Advice, only read this book when you have uninterrupted, quiet time. Allow yourself to get gently lost with no time or particular place to go to (that is, do not try to predict the way you want a story theme to unfold). Notice how one thought can lead into another, and another, and then he often returns so as to not leave us hanging. I feel that he is reflecting on the way our minds naturally wander. Go with him. Be there.
You may find that it is the best book you have ever read.
Also, the interpretation is important. I am currently reading the version of Swann's Way interpreted into (American) English by Lydia Davis. Excellent! (less)
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) French is closer to Spanish than it is to English, linguistically, so I'd go with Spanish. I'm listening to the English audiobook and thinking I shoul…moreFrench is closer to Spanish than it is to English, linguistically, so I'd go with Spanish. I'm listening to the English audiobook and thinking I should have tried either French or Spanish.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  54,424 ratings  ·  4,502 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Swann's Way
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: love, french
'reality will take shape in the memory alone...

For 100 years now, Swann’s Way, the first volume of Marcel Proust’s masterpiece, has engaged and enchanted readers. Within moments of turning back the cover and dropping your eyes into the trenches of text, the reader is sent to soaring heights of rapture while clinging to Proust prose, leaving no room for doubt that this is well-deserving of it’s honor among the timeless classics. In swirling passages of poetic ecstasy, the whole of his life and m
Ahmad Sharabiani
(Book 685 from 1001 books) - Du Côté de Chez Swann = Swann's Way (À La Recherche du Temps Perdu = In Search of Lost Time #1), Marcel Proust

Writing about this series of novels should be a separate book in itself. You do not know where to start, as if you want to depict the pyramids of Egypt stone by stone, and you really do not know how to deal with the storm of words, the word "magnificent" is too small for this series of novels.

Far superior to the Gothic cathedrals, the Wagner, Beethoven opera
Jul 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Childhood Expectations

The Delphic maxim Nosce te ipsum, Know thyself, is the motivating force not only of Western philosophy and Christian theology but of much of Western literature. All of the volumes of In Search of Lost Time are an experiment in self-understanding, an experiment which incorporates something that is left out of much of modern science, particularly psychological science, namely the concept of purposefulness.

Purposefulness is the capacity to consider purpose rather than the ado
Jim Fonseca
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust [Edited for typos 6/8/22]

Proust! Memories! Almost 3,000 reviews so I thought I would simply give examples of his writing if you have not read him before. Beautiful writing, lyrical, complex, maybe even occasionally convoluted.

First the famous passage about madeleines:


“And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of a little piece of the madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went
Jeffrey Keeten
Jan 05, 2013 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
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
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
Vit Babenco
Jun 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marcel Proust is a weaver – he weaves his narration from memories of the past, dreams and threads of irony…
A sleeping man holds in a circle around him the sequence of the hours, the order of the years and worlds. He consults them instinctively as he wakes and reads in a second the point on the earth he occupies, the time that has elapsed before his waking; but their ranks can be mixed up, broken.

Memories of childhood: relatives, relationships in the family, hearsay and gossips, life of neighbour
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Proust is immortal. For he discovered a Hidden Way to transform our past, and, by extension, like the mystics of old - our souls - into a thing of enduring beauty. The Past can be Regained and Transmuted, as by St. Teresa of Avila, into an Interior Castle. Or, as Proust says in In a Budding Grove, a Magic Lantern Show.

Few of us are old enough to remember Magic Lanterns. They were the original still photo projectors, developed at the turn of the twentieth century. My Dad had his own ancient model
Jul 08, 2013 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
Always try to keep a patch of sky above your life.
Swann's Way ~~ Marcel Proust

It has been said, "In Search of Lost Time is the most famous and least read French novel." How unfortunate since it is a beautiful read, & Proust has amazing insights into the human condition. As with the greatest works of Joyce, Woolf, Dickens, Twain, Chekhov and Dostoevsky, Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time is a memoir disguised as a novel. And what a novel it is. It is a monumental achievement.

" The sad thin
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
Violet wells
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Proust is probably the author I most pretend to love more than I do. In certain company to admit preferring dozens of other authors can feel like acknowledging some strain of mediocrity in one's intellect and critical faculties. Joyce is the other one. Though I don't often make any pretence of loving Joyce, except his story The Dead and parts of Ulysses. Proust and Joyce - the two sacred cows of 20th century literature. That said, Proust had a huge influence on two of my favourite writers - Wool ...more
Memory is a slippery little sucker. It constitutes an elusive, transient cache of data, the reliability of which decreases in reverse proportion to the length of time it has been stored. It can even be a blatant liar! How often have we found ourselves convinced of the details a particular memory only to have those details called into question by some testimony or other of which we have been made newly aware? It is almost frightening how quickly and naturally the bytes of our mind can be removed ...more
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Those consumed by the wasting torments of merciless love/ Haunt the sequestered alleys and myrtle groves that give them
- Virgil

At first you avoid it as if nothing is happening- the prose is so dense that you feel anxious that initial pages are just about the narrator’s issues with sleeping- For a long time, I went to bed early. Sometimes, my candle scarcely out, my eyes would close so quickly that I did not have time to say to myself: ‘I’m falling asleep.’ But then as you brave through first

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
Michael Finocchiaro
"Longtemps je me suis couché de bonne heure."
This phrase and the title of La Recherche has - in my opinion - been butchered many times as people have tried to translate Proust into English. I read it all in French - most French people do not even get past this first volume - and so I cannot really tell you whether the Moncrieff's translation is better than the Kilmartin's. I am not trying to be a snob, I am just saying that, like Ulysses, this work is so subtle and uses such a wide range of idio
"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
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 Marcel 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 carriag
Criticize: sorry, but not this time!
"In Search of Lost Time" is one hundred and twenty-six posts on our favourite site. The net, libraries, and bookstores are full of studies, thesis, biographies, analyses, etc. I feel like a bit of an ant, tiny in front of this monument. So, my post will be a testimony because I want to share a few crumbs of happiness!

"Swann's Way", first volume.

And then, the whirlwind of life, the rare moments of one's own, literary novels, etc. Still, I had to wait many years
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 an
I´ve read the book “Swann`ların Tarafı” (First Volume in “Search of Lost Time” written by Marcel Proust (* 10. Juli 1871 in Paris; † 18. November 1922 ebenda)

As the title suggests, it takes us some time to read. One has to get involved with it and accept the rhythm of the work. It is not a book, which you should spend hours on it or read straight through. I loved reading the book in the night.
The blooming gardens, the landscape in the sunshine are flooded with light. All of this is full of splen
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sui-generis, 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
Feb 19, 2013 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
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
Adam Dalva
May 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My first time with this translation - I think that, in the end, it's an improvement on the Moncrieff (though I'm biased because Lydia Davis is my mentor). If you switch back and forth as you read, there's a power and directness and lucidity here that just doesn't exist in other translations of Proust. I'll continue experimenting with the alternative translations as I make my way through the seven volumes, though obviously the Moncrieff sets a high bar.

And what about Swann's way, itself? There ar

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
Apr 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
And soon, mechanically, oppressed by the gloomy day and the prospect of another sad day to follow, I carried to my lips a spoonful of tea in which I had let soften the madeleine.

Well, I finished it. On the whole I have ambivalent feelings towards the novel. On the one hand it can be breathtakingly beautiful. And on the other hand it can be about as exciting as watching paint dry. It drives me nuts. The plot( as close as I can discern) is centered around the eponymous Swann and his all consuming
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Swann's Way, the first volume of Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time is one of the rare books that come your way. After keeping in my TBR for nearly two years, I finally managed to become acquainted with it. This will not be a review in the strictest sense, for I don't consider me competent enough to review such an in-depth work. And also what the reading of this book does to you, the effect it produces on you, you can only feel; no express word in all justice can properly capture them.

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Ulysses
  • The Magic Mountain
  • Madame Bovary
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • How Proust Can Change Your Life
  • Sentimental Education
  • To the Lighthouse
  • The Sound and the Fury
  • Monsieur Proust
  • The Red and the Black
  • Journey to the End of the Night
  • The Brothers Karamazov
  • Lettres de l'année 1671
  • Lost Illusions (La Comédie Humaine)
  • Père Goriot
  • Death in Venice
  • The Castle
  • Paintings in Proust: A Visual Companion to 'In Search of Lost Time'
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Marcel Proust was a 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 h

Other books in the series

À la recherche du temps perdu (9 books)
  • In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower
  • The Guermantes Way
  • Sodom and Gomorrah
  • La Prisonnière
  • La fugitiva
  • Time Regained
  • Remembrance of Things Past: Volume 1 (In Search of Lost Time, #1-3)
  • Remembrance of Things Past: Volume 2 (In Search of Lost Time, #4-7)

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
50 likes · 21 comments
“Always try to keep a patch of sky above your life.” 2144 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.” 223 likes
More quotes…