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Paintings in Proust: A Visual Companion to In Search of Lost Time
Eric Karpeles
In Search of Lost Time
Marcel Proust, C.K. Scott Moncrieff, Andreas Mayor, Terence Kilmartin, D.J. Enright, Richard Howard
Within a Budding Grove (In Search of Lost Time, #2)
Marcel Proust, C.K. Scott Moncrieff, Terence Kilmartin, D.J. Enright

Parallel Stories: A Novel

Parallel Stories: A Novel - Péter Nádas For a more detailed review of Parallel Stories, I’ll insist that you read Tod’s review here on Goodreads and Scott Esposito’s wonderful review—and one with which I agree wholeheartedly—in the Barnes & Noble Review.Nádas has certainly written a monumental exploration of time, history, belonging, estrangement, and how the personal and the political affect individuals and their relationships with others. Roughly speaking, Parallel Stories centralizes the Lippy-Lehr and the Dohring families, exploring main members of each family, their lovers and more distant relations, their friends, and even the friends of their friends. While such a project, especially one of this length, could easily have been labeled a group of short stories with a loose theme tying them all together, Nádas does indeed succeed at making Parallel Stories a novel. However, if his claim—as he has stated—was to create “a monument to incompleteness,” the length of this novel is a problem: there is nothing that warrants such a lengthy examination (which results, at some points in iterative narrative arcs and redundant—because they are repeated so often—flashbacks in history), and this novel would have greatly benefited from a more concise and less broad structure.There are some Proustian moments here, an author with whom Nádas is often compared; but whereas Proust’s project actually solicits the volumes it takes for his narrator to reach the end of the Recherche, nothing in Parallel Stories does. The philosophical investigations here on time, history, individuality, isolation, desire, and self-annihilation do have their moments of brave insight and often prophetic assessments of our relation to our histories and to history itself, but Nádas often loses track quickly and focuses (almost solely) on the body, defecation, fluids, and sex. I agree with Scott Espositio’s review to which I’ve linked above in that these Proustian moments are mixed with a kind of nineteenth-century realism which seems at odds with Nádas’s project entirely, and so this works to make Parallel Stories a less effective work—mixing experimental, nonlinear writing with more cliched and hackneyed plot lines—than had Nádas stayed within the medium of memory and shifting temporalities.