cover image Remembrance of Things Past, Part Three: Swann in Love, Vol. 1

Remembrance of Things Past, Part Three: Swann in Love, Vol. 1

Marcel Proust, , translated by Joe Johnson. . NBM Comics Lit, $16.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-1-5616-3513-9

It took Proust 14 years to complete his loosely autobiographical seven-volume novel, Remembrance of Things Past , but it has taken Heuet more than nine years to finish even a third of this most ambitious project: adapting Proust's entire 3,000 page magnum opus into the comics medium. In this fourth installment, Proust's narrator revisits the past of a dandy named Charles Swann, who struggles to separate his concepts of art, love and ideal beauty as he develops an unlikely obsession with a young socialite in 19th-century Parisian society. Heuet's translation to sequential art retains the work's distinctive period feel and eye for detail, while necessarily paring the florid prose to its least superfluous elements. With a clear line style reminiscent of a slightly more adorned Hergé, the art likewise renders the characters with a sometimes disappointing simplicity that contrasts both the intricate period backgrounds and the exhaustive social intricacies they contain. Although a true Proust fan will find it no substitute, Heuet's graphic adaptation is a useful primer for anyone who finds it hard to penetrate the French author's challengingly dense masterpiece. (Dec.)