Book Review: Jealousy by Marcel Proust



Can we truly know the one we love? In this painfully candid book Marcel Proust looks straight into the green eye of every lover’s jealous struggle. He broods on why we are driven to try to possess one another, how jealousy can outlive death, and whether we can ever reclaim those careless days of first love. There is no greater chronicler of jealousy’s darkest fears and destructive suspicions than Proust.

Rating:  3.5 stars

My Review:

Jealousy by Marcel Proust is unique and has elements of the French bourgeois thrown in generous sprinkles. The primary theme of this piece of literature is an erotic attachment and the jealousy that crops up as a result. While the subject is quite hackneyed, what is worth noticing is Proust’s way of narration. It is narrated in the first person with the frequent unearthing of feelings emerging out of the most regular actions in life.

Proust starts with his feelings about his girl when she is asleep and how it changes when she is awake; about how she has multiple personalities all in one and how he feels dealing with all those is getting in touch with his innermost emotions and feelings. One of the things that I noticed is Proust keeps making continual references to kisses from his mother and comparing it with the kisses from his mistress. It makes me wonder if he is a man-child or ever had any incestuous thoughts in his head.

Proust’s insight is profound and highly thought-provoking. He seems to have an uncanny knack to turn mundane things into profound subjects of contemplation. And there are no two ways about it. Having said that, I wouldn’t say I am a huge fan of his writing style. Though he manages to juxtapose long and short sentences quite impeccably, I find this style a bit of a hindrance to the flow of a certain prose. One may say it enhances the poetic appeal of his prose but then, in my opinion, it does task the reader’s attention and patience. When I was reading this one, I felt the need to take a pause and then go through the sentence all over again to make the right amount of sense from it. In fact, I had had a similar experience when I was reading Faulkner’s As I Lie Dying that I happened to be losing attention pretty frequently.

Either way, Proust demands to be read by one and all; by every literature connoisseur alike. I am quite sure there is something by Proust for everyone.


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