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In het café van de verloren jeugd by…

In het café van de verloren jeugd (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Patrick Modiano

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3101735,978 (3.36)4
Title:In het café van de verloren jeugd
Authors:Patrick Modiano
Info:Amsterdam Querido 2008
Collections:Your library
Tags:Literatuur, Franse lit., jeugd;Frankrijk;1960-, Parijs, boekencultuur

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In the Café of Lost Youth by Patrick Modiano (2007)


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English (6)  Dutch (6)  Catalan (2)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (17)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
I realize how ridiculous it is for an amateur to disagree with the Nobel Prize committee, but this is the second Modiano novel I try and I just don't get why they selected him. His work reads like Alain Robbe-Grillet with all the difficulties sanded down, or perhaps Paul Auster's New York Trilogy minus the annoying po-mo winks and nudges. Either way, pleasant but far from life-changing. ( )
  giovannigf | Jun 27, 2016 |
Maybe knowing a bit of Paris would have made this story easier to follow, as it has plenty of references to the geography of the city.

The changes of point of view were remarkable and helped to move the story along but it is a thin story, more insinuating than really telling and the overall result didn't impress me very much. ( )
  ivan.frade | Sep 11, 2015 |
It felt a little as if I were in a nightmare reading this book. The way everyone’s paths intersect but no-one really knows or understands anyone else is reinforced by having the number of first person accounts where the reader learns a little about each but more about how they don’t know each other. Even the names aren’t their real names. Louki is perhaps Jacqueline but we only know Roland’s real name is something more exotic and he prefers to be inconnu.

Then there are the activities they have. Roland is writing a book about ‘des zones intermédiaires . . . où l’on était à la lisière de tout, en transit, où meme en suspens’ while Bowing has a book lisiting where all the clients of the café come from as he ‘cherchait à sauver de l’oubli les papillons qui tournent quelques instants autour d’une lampe’, in other words trying to give some solidity to people living in the anonymous suburbs of Paris. All this reinforces, as does the title, the way people have an unfulfilled yearning. As I’ve said, it’s all pretty depressing.

I didn’t really engage with the characters. I think we’re meant to feel at least sympathy for Louki, but the casual way in which she got married and then treated her marriage, took cocaine and wandered around made her seem really egocentric to me so her outcome didn’t engage me. Who doesn’t want ‘respirer à l’air libre’ as she does?

Altogether this is a sombre book, taking the reader on a dusk tour of Paris with people who have become disengaged. ( )
1 vote evening | Jun 7, 2015 |
The writing of Patrick Modiano, Nobel prize in literature 2014, reminds of Alberto Giacometti’s emaciated statues, isolated beings lacking in flesh and blood. The protagonists meet and talk but there is neither much happening nor true interaction between the protagonists. This coffee shop of lost souls is waiting for Godot without the humor. Fortunately the page count is very low so there is little time wasted. The most fun part of Modiano for me is the voyeuristic tracking the Paris addresses on Google Streetview as he offers street addresses including house numbers. The story thus seems very constructed and flat. ( )
  jcbrunner | Nov 30, 2014 |
Un grupo variopinto se reune en un cafe parisino con regularidad, entre ellos se encuentra Louki, una joven que intenta pasar desapercibida pero que es el foco de atencion de varios de sus contertulios. Por medio de cuatro voces diferentes, Modiano va narrando fragamentos de la vida de Louki, de la que se muestran facetas muy distintas, y que se va convirtiendo poco a poco en un personaje misterioso, con un pasado que parece perseguirla y con el que ella se rebela. Al mismo tiempo que este personaje femenino se va desvelando, el autor dibuja el Paris de los sesenta, que va mostrando por medio de aquellos que entran en contacto con Louki. Una novela corta , melancolica, muy bien escrita, que contiene elementos de misterio que logran intrigar al lector. ( )
  alalba | Nov 7, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Modiano, Patrickprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Elzinga, MaartenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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 café of the lost youth.

-Guy Debord
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There were two entrances to the café, but she always opted for the narrower one hidden in the shadows.
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