NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!


Sunday, March 2, 2008

SWANN'S WAY by Marcel Proust

This book exhausted me. Don’t get me wrong. I really liked it. But the extravagant style, endless sentences and multi-page paragraphs wrung my brain dry. There are seven books that make up this complete work (In Search of Lost Time or Remembrance of Things Past) and I have every intention of reading all six volumes in which they are contained, but I will be spacing them out a bit. It’s like a rich dessert. No matter how much I love French Silk Pie, there is only so much I can eat at one time.

Swann’s Way revolves around the narrator’s memories of his childhood. While he knows memory is fallible, he still revels in reliving times of his life suddenly and unexpectedly brought back to him by simple acts such as the tasting of a madeleine dipped in tea or the sight of a church steeple. Among the many amazing quotes in this book, one of my favorites occurs near the end:

[L]arge birds swiftly crossed the Bois, like a real wood, and uttering their sharp cries alighted one after another in the tall oaks which under their druidical crowns and with a Dodonean majesty seemed to proclaim the inhuman emptiness of the disused forest, and helped me better understand what a contradiction it is to search in reality for memory’s pictures, which would never have the charm that comes to them from memory itself and from not being perceived by the senses.

There is an enormous cast of characters introduced and many scenes which seem not to be connected to any of the others, but my understanding is that most of this sets up future volumes. I’m very curious to see where this all goes. In the meantime, I just have to share with you another passage that I adored:

He was smiling, enraptured in a sort of dream, then he hurried back to the lady, and since he was walking more quickly than was his habit, his two shoulders oscillated ridiculously to the right and left, and so entirely did he abandon himself to this, without concern for anything else, that he looked like the inert and mechanical plaything of happiness itself.

How can you not love that writing?? So over the top!


1 comment:

joanna said...

That sounds so heavy! Not really my kind of writing so I can see that this will be towards the end of the 1001 books for me! Well done for finishing it!