Sunday, 20 March 2016

ARC Review - Swann's Way (Marcel Proust)

Hello everyone! Today I have a lovely review of the non-YA kind that I hope you all like. I received a copy from the lovely Hayley Steed and Gallic Books, and though I'm a little late in posting I absolutely adored it. My opinion and rating are not affected. Enjoy!


Proust's oceanic novel In Search of Lost Time looms over twentieth-century literature as one of the greatest, yet most endlessly challenging, literary experiences. Now, in what renowned translator Arthur Goldhammer says might be 'likened to a piano reduction of an orchestral score, the French illustrator Stéphane Heuet re-presents Proust in graphic form for anyone who has always dreamed of reading him but was put off by the sheer magnitude of the undertaking. This graphic adaptation reveals the fundamental architecture of Proust's work while displaying a remarkable fidelity to his language as well as the novel's themes of time, art, and the elusiveness of memory.

Release Date: 1st February 2016
Publisher: Gallic Books

Swann's Way is a wondrous journey through the mind of Marcel Proust, and reading it feels a little akin to the boat journey in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The story is encapsulating, with Proust quite literally forging a story for the senses. You can almost smell, taste, see, touch, and hear as you read, and it's not at all lost in translation. The graphic novel only serves to enhance the story with full colour depictions that draw you in further. Marketed as 'Proust for the people' it is quite literally that. Not simply a new edition or a lovely collector's item, Swann's Way is a marvellous introduction to anyone who has been interested in the works but discouraged by their volume.

The artwork is stunning, capturing not only the very essence of Proust's work but of Marcel Proust himself; of madeline cake dipped in tea. It was an absolute joy to read, a pleasure for the eyes, and I will certainly be keeping my eye out for the next volume. I am thoroughly enthralled.

One of the things I loved most about the book however was the 'extras' that made it even more special and beautiful. Upon opening you are immediately presented with the most amazing map, and further the book does not end when the story does. We are presented with more full colour depictions in the forms of character portraits (also a key tool in recognising the characters), the narrator's family tree, and Proust's own family tree. The presentation of a full glossary meanwhile not only answers any queries but further expands the book's demographic, truly promoting it as 'Proust for the people'.

A wondrous read and a magnificent addition to any shelf, I highly recommend it and award a much deserved 5 stars! If you weren't convinced before, I hope you are now.

Thanks for reading and I truly hope you enjoyed my review. Do feel free to comment below, or message me on Twitter!

Holly @TheArtsShelf

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