In Search of Lost Time is probably the most talked-about novel by a French novelist and one of the most complex and thorough books about the human nature - both the vices and the virtues. Marcel Proust is considered to be one of the forward-thinking writers of his time and volume one, Swann's Way, is an intimate monologue with the reader. The opening phrase, "For a long time, I went to bed early", is the most famous line from the book, and it sets the mood for the whole novel. Swann's Way is a set of memories, emotions, thoughts and meditations. The main character remembers being a kid and sleeping in a room in his parents' house while they are talking to Mr. Swann, a Jewish man with strong social connections. He also remembers his mother, their servant - everything about the house and the way they used to live.
He enjoyed theatre, made acquaintance with a dashing "lady in pink" and learned a lot about the mysterious Charles Swann. The narrator talks about 2 different routes for country walks that he and his family really enjoyed - one was past the Jewish man's house, and the second on was in a different direction. While lying in bed, the main character also remembers about Mme Verdurin, a hostess who requested absolute obedience for her guests.
One of the guests, a former courtesan, invited Mr. Swann to their "little clan". He refused at first, but later she managed to persuade him to visit. Pretty soon Swann became jealous of her and started to think that she was having an affair. However, despite his affection for Odette de Crecy, the courtesan, his love for her faded away and he moved on.