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Eine Jugend (original 1981; edition 1985)
Young Once by Patrick Modiano (1981)
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Wikipedia in English
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"Odile and Louis are leading a happy, bucolic life with their two children in the French countryside near the Swiss mountains. It is Odile's thirty-fifth birthday, and Louis's thirty-fifth birthday is a few weeks away. Then the story shifts back to their early years: Louis, just freed from his military service and at loose ends, taken up by a shady character who brings him to Paris to do some work for a friend who manages a garage; Odile, an aspiring singer, at the mercy of the kindness and unkindness of strangers. They move through a Paris saturated with the crimes and secrets of the past but breathing hopes for the future; they find each other and struggle together to create what, looking back, will have been their youth"--
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