In Search of Lost Time: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower

Liveright: Norton. 2019. 112p. ISBN 9781631493676. pap. $19.95; ebk. ISBN 9781631493683. Rated: Teen+. LIT
This slender volume is the North American English–language release of another portion of French artist Heuet’s ongoing graphic adaptation of Proust’s seven-volume literary masterwork (after In Search of Lost Time: Swann’s Way). Here, Proust’s narrator/proxy is in adolescence, escaping his clinging mother by accompanying his grandmother to the seaside resort of Balbec, where he meets an assortment of artists and aristocrats, navigates the etiquette of the bourgeoisie, and encounters the titular young ladies, notably the enchanting Albertine. Heuet’s singular style combines the clean lines of Hergé (“Tintin” series) with the obsessive detailing of Geof Darrow (Hard Boiled). Still, readers cannot be blamed for zipping past Heuet’s well-crafted artwork to the passages of Proust’s lovingly translated prose, which remains the star attraction. Brief profanity, an intimate situation, and anti-Semitic language, all in the context of the original 1918 novel make this suitable for readers of most ages [black and white advance copy provided for review].
VERDICT Let cynics and snobs consider this project Proust for Dummies--kudos to Heuet and translator Marris (creative writing, Boston Univ.) for bringing Proust to both new audiences and the paneled page with class. Recommended to lovers of classic literature, fans of nonsuperhero sequential art, and anyone putting off tackling Proust.
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