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Got a Spare 153 Hours? Listen to Proust’s Masterpiece, Unabridged

By Dennis Abrams

So, perhaps you missed it when Publishing Perspectives opened the door to The Cork Lined Room in its year long reading and examination of perhaps the greatest of all 20th century novels, Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (a.k.a.  Remembrance of Things Past). But we understand, we really do: at seven volumes, 3,000 pages and over 1.25 million words (more or less), it might have seemed a somewhat daunting proposition. But now Naxos Audiobooks, a British division of the famous classical musical label, has a solution to help remedy your Proustless existence. Maybe.

Naxos has gone where no other audiobook has gone before, recording, totally unabridged, all seven volumes of Proust’s masterpiece — 120 total discs on CD, the last of which will be coming out on October 29 — replacing an earlier abridged version that clocked in at a mere 36 CDs. Publisher Nicolas Soames said in an interview that he believes that the new edition (also available for download), which will sell for 380 pounds (around $600), will be the longest audiobook in existence.

The reading was done by acclaimed actor Neville Jason, who not only recorded the earlier abridged version, but also who spent 45 days, spread out over a year, to complete all 3,000 pages of the new recording. In a telephone interview with The New York Times, said, “These things sort of take over in ways you didn’t expect.  This second time, it seemed such a massive task that I put it off for years. But once I started, it wasn’t so daunting: It’s just a question of keeping going….”

“But once I started, it wasn’t so daunting.” Words to live by. So now that Naxos had brought Proust to life — all 153 glorious hours of it – what’s your excuse?  Learn more about the Naxos Proust project here. Or, if your appetite has been whetted, check out the site of The Corked Line Room here. Either way, once you start, it won’t seem nearly so daunting. Promise.

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