Swann’s Way

by Charlotte Reads Classics

In Search of Lost Time Volume I: Swann’s Way, Marcel Proust

It was a long time coming, but I finally finished the first volume of Proust’s epic. One of the most beautiful writers of all time, once you get used to the pace. Proust’s narrative is incredibly easy going, ambling along – you’ll get all the information, but all in good time. I must admit it took me a little while to get into reading without want of ‘action’ but it was worth the effort. You’ll be turning page after page of atmosphere and memory to all of a sudden be struck by a sentence that is so true to the entirety of human nature, so concise, so evocative and so genuinely brilliant that its like being hit in the face.

This is a novel about love and childhood, time and memory, lost moments and recaptured lives. There is one particular image that will always stick with me when I think about this book: The moment in between sleeping and waking up when you create how you expect the room you are sleeping in to look before you open your eyes. I imagine this like all the pieces of furniture and ornaments whirling about the space and touching down in various scenarios as you think through all the rooms you could be asleep in. As you can see, the tiniest of details are given so much meaning. And the meaning is familiar.

My attitude to reading the rest of Proust is that I have a whole lifetime to do it. I think if you’ve read him, you’ll understand the feeling.