Swann's Way

swann's way cover image Swann's Way

by Marcel Proust
General Fiction
Penguin Classics
Paperback, 468 pages

"Longtemps, je me suis couche de bonne heure." Okay. So we did it! After 70-odd-years of intellectual barrenness we have begun reading Proust! This first volume of À la recherche du temps perdu (Remembrance of Things Past) is a revelation. Those who know Proust already appreciate the enormous power and grandeur of this work. Those (like us) who have resisted would do well to try it on. The descriptions are hypnotic as they cycle round and round in memory – a child’s bedtime, a bit of Madeleine cookie dunked into a cup of tea, the steeple of Combray. The quotidian is revisited and layered over until the sublime emerges from the mundane. It’s probably not for everybody and all seven volumes are probably for the vanishing few. But, it will be a pleasure to say, “Yes. Of course I’ve read Proust. And I liked it!”