Review | Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust

Started out with my Proust journey earlier this month. Been really trying to take it slow, savour it and enjoy all the nuances. Marcel Proust is a new literary destination, and it is a challenge for me to review his mind’s work. Those densely packed paragraphs, such food-for-thought word structure, the goosebumps from all that sensory detail, the profound way he allows us to bear witness to a lost time and place through his characters is quite mesmerising.

I found the opening passage itself to be very interesting as the narrator describes his habit of going to bed early as a child. Something very insignificant, yet the reader sees the workings of the narrator’s consciousness as he falls asleep reading. He makes comparisons and creates images that makes us see his philosophising.

I think it is not Proust’s subject matter which sets his work apart, whereas it is how he treats his subject that does the magic. Quoting one of the finer maxim of Proust himself “to penetrate the mysteries of his superior mind.” It is the explorations of the feelings and thoughts in the smallest actions of his characters which works with the reader’s mind.

By the time I got to the end of this book, I was rereading a lot of parts to ensure I could picture it all in my mind, and in my heart, before I moved on. I was aware of those extra moments, layers, feelings to a heightened degree with the Proustian lens.


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