Posted by: tuulenhaiven | January 7, 2011

The Fugitive

DSC00879by Marcel Proust
translated by Peter Collier

While overall I prefer Proust’s lyrical and explosive descriptions of places and scenes and weather and hawthorn hedges, in The Fugitive he really blew me away with his single minded pursuit of the ins and outs of Marcel’s thoughts and feelings after Albertine leaves him. Here is the confusion and conceit and sorrow and suffering in all its gritty glory. My duel reactions to Marcel were blown out of proportion here – my sympathy overflowed, while I ground my teeth in frustration and bemusement. By the time Marcel came to the end of his grief and the end of his interest in what Albertine’s life had been with and without him, I was exhausted – and he gratified me by admitting to his own fatigue with the entire topic.

Memory and the corrosive power of forgetting are main themes in this work, of course, but here we come round full circle to ideas and concepts that Proust addressed in Swann’s Way, with potent results. The ending to The Fugitive is especially haunting, with its ghostly memory of a childhood incident. I was completely flummoxed by some honest-to-god plot twists in this volume. Somehow I have avoided reading any kind of synopsis of the work, so I was nearly as shocked as Marcel when…well you know, if you’ve read it. I was not expecting that!

I am eager to finish now, amazed that the end is in view – only Finding Time Again between me and the pressing question of where Proust is going with all this. I can’t comprehend what will be contained in the final volume, what Proust’s sum up will resemble. I imagine it will be beautifully perplexing. I can’t wait.


Responses

  1. YES, I was also taken unawares by that plot twist! Although when you come to think of it in light of Proust’s trademark areas of interest, it totally makes sense that he would tweak the circumstances of Marcel’s grief in order to compare & contrast the different types of mourning. Shutting up now so as not to give anything away.

    Looking forward to your thoughts on Time Regained!

    • Right?! It totally made sense, but I was still surprised. Glad I’m not the only one who was caught off guard, since it seemed like an obvious turn of affairs after the fact… I want to start Finding Time Again right away, but I should focus on the next Mahfouz book and our Wolves read first. I’ll meet Proust again in Feb. 🙂

  2. […] see that The Fugitive by Marcel Proust was the first book I finished in 2011, and I even wrote about it (something that began happening less and less frequently as the year progressed…). I suppose […]

  3. […] see that The Fugitive by Marcel Proust was the first book I finished in 2011, and I even wrote about it (something that began happening less and less frequently as the year progressed…). I suppose […]


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