Original title: La Fugitive
Original language: French
Translation to English by: C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin (revised by D.J. Enright)
Page count: 258
The back says: Nothing, but this volume deals with the aftermath of his separation with Albertine. There are also a trip to Venice, a couple of marriages and society problems.
I say: I enjoyed this more than I thought I would after finishing The Captive, however, it would have been so much better had Proust been able to finish it. Not merely because he could have corrected the mistakes, and there were quite a few of them, but also because it doesn’t feel fleshed out properly both in plot and language.
Which is extremely disappointing.
Albertine leaves Marcel at the end of The Captive and the first part of The Fugitive deals with his coming to terms with her departure. He was very whiny in the beginning, and I was annoyed – as per usual – by his game playing and neurosis. However, whenever Proust was describing the dealing with loss and betrayal, I found myself nodding in agreement and slowly falling back in love with him.
He became again the Proust of the first three volumes.
Later on we are reintroduced to Gilberte, which was nice, but this was one of the plotlines that I found unsatisfactory. The same goes for his trip to Venice, and the marriages. Once again we were also given details of the families and their history and quarrels – which still doesn’t interest me because they’re all ridiculous – and because it was so long ago I finished the first three volumes, it was hard for me to remember exactly what had happened.
All in all, I find it hard to review this without going into too deep details, especially since it was meant as the second part of what is known as Le Roman d'Albertine (The Albertine Novel). In that context Marcel grows up in this volume - I think - or at least becomes less disagreeable. Essentially he is a person whom is at his best when he is not in love/a relationship because he equates love with unhealthy obsession, and I am actually looking forward to seeing how this story is concluded.
So yeah, 3.5/5 because even though it is unfinished and full of mistakes it had so much potential.