cover image Finding Time Again

Finding Time Again

Marcel Proust, trans. from the French by Ian Patterson. Penguin, $27 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-0-14-313371-1

With this sublime translation of Proust’s final volume of the magisterial In Search of Lost Time, Patterson concludes a project that began with Lydia Davis’s translation of Swann’s Way in 2004. This seventh book was untyped at the end of Proust’s life and subject to hasty revisions and alterations by its original publishers in 1927. Patterson provides readers with a great gift by basing his translation on a 1988 revision, which opens with a different beginning than the comparatively awkward version previously translated by Andreas Mayor in 1970, based on a 1954 version. The unnamed narrator, temporarily sidelined, in Tansonville, from the Paris soirees and salons, sustains himself on memories of lost love Albertine and gossip concerning the mercurial Gilberte and her husband, the narrator’s doomed confidante Robert Saint-Loup. Meanwhile, with Paris riven by WWI, the decadent Baron de Charlus makes a great show of supporting the German side against the French, and the illustrious parties of the Verdurins and the Guermantes, which so captivated the narrator for much of the saga, have begun to grow stale. In his exceptional final installment, Proust recaptures the reveries, ambitions, and moments in time that divide people’s inner worlds from the mysteries of others. Whether for the curious or the devoted, this is the definitive version with which to conclude Proust’s masterpiece. (Jan.)