The rest of The Captive has been pleasing (though slow) reading. I last posted a quote from page 160-something; between there and the end there is: Albertine’s trip to the theatre cut short by the narrator’s jealousy, an afternoon carriage ride, Albertine’s visit to the Verdurins forestalled by the narrator’s jealousy, the narrator’s own visit to the Verdurins, prompted by his jealousy, lots of hemming and hawing by the narrator about whether he should stay with Albertine or break up with her or maybe just make her think he’s going to break up with her, a bit of Vinteuil’s sonata and Charlus and Morel at the Verdurins’ house, the Verdurins forcing a break between Charlus and Morel, a great passage about the Verdurins’ furniture and how seeing furniture one has seen in an old house in a new house makes one feel, etc. etc. etc.

The narrator thinks a lot about his love for Albertine and his earlier loves, and about other people and their loves—Swann and Odette, Charlus and Morel. Listening to Vinteuil’s septet, which contains phrases from the sonata, the narrator thinks about how it’s “the same and yet something else, as things recur in life,” and of course that’s very Proustian, circling and repetition and little shifts.

And then there’s springtime and beauty, warmer air and the sounds of pigeons and passing cars and reveries about other springtimes, drives through the countryside, the smell of hawthorn and the smell of clover. And then the narrator decides he’ll leave Albertine and go to Venice, but then, of course, she leaves him first.

Today it is snowing in New York; work let out at 12:30 and I’ve spent the afternoon curled up with lady grey tea and this book, the curtain open and snowflakes drifting past the brick walls in the back alleyway. It’s been a good reading day, and I’m looking forward to starting The Fugitive now: both to see how our narrator fares now that Albertine’s gone, and also, if I’m honest, because I’m about ready for a change of reading scenery, though not ready enough that I actually want to put this volume aside and start reading something else. So: onward!

Leave a Reply

Subscribe without commenting