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In the second part of The Captive the fifth volume of Marcel Proust's monumental, seven volume Remembrance of Things Past, Marcel, pathologically possessive, continues to keep Albertine a virtual captive in his Paris apartment, while the Baron de Charlus, obsessed with the young violinist Charles Morel, receives an unexpected shock. A deeply perceptive study of love and jealousy.
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  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Marius
  • 24/03/2010

Quarrels, real and contrived

The Captive is the fifth book of the seven-volume In Search of Lost Time / Rememberances. For audiobook purposes, it is divided into two parts, this being the second. As with this entire series, it is beautifully narrated by Neville Jason.

Albertine remains a captive of sorts. The narrator literally transforms his jealousy into a fine art. Duplicity of speech is the order of the day. In a side show, the Verdurins engineer an extraordinary quarrel between Morel and M. de Charlus, so claiming Morel for themselves.

Proust tends to confine his violence to the verbal variety, and this volume does not lack for cutting speech. However perhaps the phrase that will stick most with the reader, or listener, is a poignant one. The narrator pretends to Albertine that they must and will part forever. She meekly accepts this, and looking around the room in his home, at the pianola, and the blue satin armchairs, she responds, "I still cannot make myself realise that I shall not see all this again, to-morrow, or the next day, or ever. Poor little room. It seems to me quite impossible; I cannot get it into my head." This phrase will come to haunt him.

As I have noted before, Proust is an unhurried author, who delights in ordinary events (and some that are rather out of the ordinary). If you like really wonderful writing, a relaxed pace, and are after a break from a diet of thrillers, you will really like this.

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