Stef's Reviews > Swann's Way

Swann's Way by Marcel Proust
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's review
May 14, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: disillusion, classics, love-story, fiction
Read from May 14 to 29, 2012

How to write a review of Proust without sounding like a school paper....? I'm not sure that's entirely possible. I like to challenge myself with works of classic literature but had been putting off Swann's Way until I got to a point where I felt that I could submerge myself in the writing...that failed. I was rushed and stressed while I read this because I had umpteem bajillion books filling up my drawer and mailbox at work (I work in a library, its a constant temptation). I found the sentences long and sometimes overly descriptive. Why is Swann important? I'm ok with the unnamed narrator who likes to reminisce about this childhood; I guess this is why Swann is important (he figures heavily into the narrator's childhood). The first and third chapters in this tome made sense in that way because they followed a natural progression both in time and space. The ridiculously long "Swann in Love" chapter really is just a lot of description about Swann, his tendency to sleep around, and Odette's reaching stupidity and her questionable sexual history. It seemed like such a departure from the style of the first and third chapter that I was very confused about why we needed such detail into this characters life. But it serves as an example of how memory is and can be distorted and influenced by the outside world, i.e. through a piece of music or a certain scent. However it also sets up Odette's character so that we can understand Mme Swann better when glimpsed through the eyes of our young narrator at the end of the novel.

I might try to finish the other 6 volumes to In Search of Lost Time, it might finally tell me why Swann is important, but I am not going to rush out today and find the next book. And after reading it, I still do not have any better understanding of why Monty Python likes to make fun of Proust.

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Reading Progress

05/14/2012 page 52
05/18/2012 page 264
43.0% "taking a break from Proust to read some of the other books that are piling up"
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