In the Café of Lost Youth (New York Review Books Classics)

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In the Café of Lost Youth (New York Review Books Classics)

In the Café of Lost Youth (New York Review Books Classics)

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Yet, despite the showroom apartment in posh Neuilly and the attentions of her husband, Louki feels imprisoned by the bourgois lifestyle and runs away. I enjoy being carried away by Modiano’s writing; reading his sentences is like listening to the splashing sound of the waves. I've read countless favorable reviews about Modiano, but I don't realize how it has always escaped me. If you like Modiano, you’ll probably love this one, and if you don’t, well, you might like it anyway (no promises, mind…).

I sat with my pile of books, trying to decide what to read next, and felt immediately drawn into this world.

The story starts with the narration of a young engineering student who is trying to fit in with the artsy crowd at Condé. But they do this invariably out of a sense of deprivation, a deficit in the present that they are trying to fill with that past. Second, Louki' s character is rather boring, as well as people who describe her with so little information.

The central mystery of this slim yet multi-layered novel is the eternal "cherchez la femme" – the quest to unlock the mystery of the beautiful stranger nicknamed Louki, a quiet young woman who used to come to a small cafe near the Place de l'Odeon in Paris. By what right do we intrude, forcing our way in like common crooks, and by what presumptuousness do we delve into their heads and into their hearts—and ask them to account for themselves?

I am usually not one for the minimal, Hemingway-esque style of writing, but it seemed to fit well here. The focus is initially on a group of Paris café regulars; men and women, all between the ages of 19 and 25.

Set against the backdrop of the sixties in Paris, “In the Café of Lost Youth” explores the idea of a safe haven for those who wander through the “neutral zones” of a city where past, present a future are disquietingly interconnected. He worked in book publishing and as a literary journalist for many years before becoming a translator from French. Interesting, Tony… I’ve read a couple of his books and they seemed very much of a muchness, and I wasn’t entirely convinced by his vagueness. Each one comes at the story from a slightly different angle, and the multiple narrators help to create a fuller picture of the main character Louki, AKA Jacqueline Delanque.

At the halfway point of the journey making up real life, we were surrounded by a gloomy melancholy, one expressed by so very many derisive and sorrowful words in the cafe of lost youth. Our having met, when I think about it now, seems like the meeting of two people who were completely without moorings in life. Pour les héros du roman au titre proustien de Patrick Modiano, c’est un peu de tout cela, un effort de reconstituer le passé, en redessinant ses zones neutres que la mémoire a ombragées et qu’ils tentent d’éclairer à l’aide de quelques repères fragiles dans le temps, espace, noms et émotions. The only purpose of our journey was to go to the heart of the summer, to where time stops and the hands of the clock are set forever at noon.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
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