Well, I did it. I survived In Search of Lost Time. Admittedly, this is probably easier to do in a year where chunks were spent in mandatory lockdown than in a year when you can do … I dunno, anything. But here we are.
This review of the final volume of the Modern Library edition will probably serve as a review of the piece as a whole, as it’s difficult to view them as anything except interlinked, because the individual books don’t stand on their own merits – it’s only as part of this elephantine endeavour that they can be appreciated.
This review’s going to be shorter than my other Proust ones, which is amusing because, even with everything else going on this year, this book was an enormous fucking slog. I mean you’d think there was more to write about it, but ensuring I maintained the will to live seems to have taken precedence.
So, this is volume four of Proust’s epic, and it marks the point of no return, or at least where the presence of the sunk cost fallacy begins to make itself felt.
(I must admit that it was at this point I began to question whether I’d actually finish the text. But having cut through the first couple of volumes, I figured the only way out was through, so ONWARDS.)
Do you like parties? I don’t mean goon-in-the-backyard, sausage sandwich kind of parties. I mean the sort of parties which involve military officers, pomp and pecking order. You know, society wankfests that lumber on intolerably despite the apparent desire of everyone else to be anywhere else?
So with a pandemic raging and the world basically on fire, I figured it was as good a time as any to tackle what’s considered one of the world’s longest novels, Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.
I’m a fancy boy.
It is, demonstrably, an indulgent fugue written by a mama’s boy with a fixation on minutiae and madeleines. But it’s also kind of perfect reading – escapism – for when you need a break from what’s going on outside. (more…)