Marcel Proust whiled away the first half of his life as a self-conscious aesthete and social climber. The second half he spent in the creation of the mighty roman-fleuve that is Remembrance of Things Past
, memorializing his own dandyism and parvenu hijinks even as he revealed their essential hollowness. Proust begins, of course, at the beginning--with the earliest childhood perceptions and sorrows. Then, over several thousand pages, he retraces the course of his own adolescence and adulthood, democratically dividing his experiences among the narrator and a sprawling cast of characters. Who else has ever decanted life into such ornate, knowing, wrought-iron sentences? Who has subjected love to such merciless microscopy, discriminating between the tiniest variations of desire and self-delusion? Who else has produced a grief-stricken record of time's erosion that can also make you laugh for entire pages? The answer to all these questions is: nobody.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-In 1998, French cartoonist Heuet began a planned 12-volume project to recast Marcel Proust's opus as a full-color graphic novel. This second in the series to be translated into English continues the story of a young man so sensitive to his surroundings that even the memory of scents and tastes fills his thoughts and colors his health. He accompanies his grandmother to the seaside at Balbec, eagerly anticipating the drama of the waves he imagines can be viewed from the 12th-century church, but resigned to a lengthy stay at a tourist hotel where the concept of social class takes on a nearly gladiatorial pitch. Heuet's illustrations key in to the newness of electric lighting, the frivolity of fashions, and the rigidity of correct facial expressions and postures. Both narrative frames and speech bubbles are studded with Proustian turns of phrase. While certainly no substitute for the original, the book offers a wealth of period and aesthetic detail that will delight artists and readers.Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
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