A very short guide to the greatest novel ever written
Today it's called In Search of Lost Time. An earlier generation knew it as Remembrance of Things Past. Under whatever title, and whichever translator, Proust's gargantuan novel has challenged American readers for nearly ninety years.
Over the course of twelve months, Stephen Fall tackled the recent and lovely Penguin/Viking editions, blogging on the internet as he read. He devotes a short chapter to each of the novel's seven books, introducing it with a two-minute plot synopsis--thus the fourteen minutes of the title.
More than that, he ruminates on one or more of its highlights, compares the Penguin/Viking translations with the classic ones based on the work of C. K. Scott Moncrieff, and (gotcha!) points to errors in the text or translation. Three concluding chapters discuss Albertine, the great love of the narrator's life; Proust's service in the French army; and the 'dueling madeleines', which give a snapshot of each translator's version of a notable Proustian passage. Finally, Stephen provides links pointing to the Penguin and Modern Library translations available for the Kindle. About 13,000 words. Revised and updated August 2014 to incorporate a new edition from Yale University Press.