The departure of Albertine at the end of Volume 5 sets Proust up for Volume 6 which is all about finding out where on earth Albertine has got to. There are some major twists and turns along the way so I’m not going to spill the beans about what he finds out. Suffice to say that he’s in a real mess over her and things go from bad to worse as he uncovers what seem to be incontrovertible facts about his beloved, her motivations and her behaviour.
But a lot of this is, when you read simply for the facts, nothing more than rumour provided by the various emissaries the narrator despatches on his behalf to track her or any news about her down. And so, as ever was, you’re left wondering how much of the relationship with Albertine is a fiction made up within a fiction and how much is tangibly real.
After 6 volumes of Proust though, what is real has probably become a bit hazy. There are more, sometimes very long, meanderings through several subjects that seem to take Proust’s fancy almost randomly. It reads almost as if he had a draft of a fairly fast paced romance novel on one side of his desk and, on the other side, a draft of a far longer tome of philosophical musings on life and both of these somehow got mixed together when a particularly strong breeze swept through the room.
As with the earlier three volumes, the theme of homosexuality seems to fascinate Proust and various characters are revealed to have tendencies towards this. The novel culminates with some startling revelations about relationships between some of them which are definitely worth hanging in there for.
|RATING||I’ll be rating the novel as a whole at the end of the next and final volume.|