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In the Café of Lost Youth (2007)

by Patrick Modiano

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6793226,200 (3.42)11
"Who was Louki? Did anyone really know? She made her mark on all of us in different ways. We all remember her, some of us more than others, but did any of us truly know her? Can anyone honestly say they know another person? In the Cafe of Lost Youth is vintage Patrick Modiano, an absorbing evocation of a particular Paris of the 1950s, shadowy and shady, a secret world of writers, criminals, drinkers, and drifters. The novel, which includes vignettes of a number of historical figures and is inspired in part by the circle (depicted in the photographs of Ed van der Elsken) of the notorious and charismatic Guy Debord, centers on the enigmatic, waiflike figure of Louki, who catches everyone's attention even as she eludes possession or comprehension. Through the eyes of four very different narrators, we contemplate Louki's character and her fate, while Modiano explores the themes of identity, memory, time, and forgetting that are at the heart of his hypnotic and deeply moving art"--… (more)
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» See also 11 mentions

English (13)  Dutch (6)  Catalan (5)  German (4)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (32)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Una lectura calmada de Modiano en busca del tiempo perdido con un final casi anunciado en toda su extensión. ( )
  Orellana_Souto | Jul 27, 2021 |
I had wanted something quick but intriguing at the library and I found this book. This is a story about a woman who is a regular at the Cafe Conde as told by four different people, one of whom is Louki herself. I loved the setting, 1950's Paris, and the reminiscing that the past is gone now, the buildings sold to foreigners and turned into high end shops. (Just like the US!)
There is a sad, dreamy quality about this book, an indie movie kind of film. It was a good translation, judging by the mood of the book. I wanted to be there, just for awhile.

Reading other reviews, I see people equate the lost youth as the ones who frequent the cafe. I saw the lost youth as those who are now older and remembering this Paris. ( )
  Chica3000 | Dec 11, 2020 |
More of a novelette than a novel but not lacking in quality. The story is told from multiple view points and leads nicely to its conclusion. ( )
  charlie68 | Mar 10, 2020 |
The café is called the Condé, in Paris. The lost youth are a loose group that convene there, none of whom appear to be notable, now or in the future. A figure of intrigue is a girl nick-named Louki. She’s as lost as the others, maybe more so. Four narrators, including Louki, tell her story, ultimately a tragic one.

As with most of Modiano’s novels there are elements of mysticism, ambiguity of time and space, and looking back at events that happened to the narrators some time ago. And as always, much of the story consists of “details that conceal other details, much more painful ones.” Navigating the details and the journey are, as always, worth it. ( )
  Hagelstein | Dec 4, 2018 |
Zu wirr und insgesamt bedeutungslos. Keiner der Charaktere sticht besonders hervor und man kann sich kaum in sie hineinversetzen.

Gefühlsmäßig ist dieses Buch für Pariser, Mitte 20, die gerade studiere und den ganzen Tag Cafés schlürfen, geschrieben. Also recht kleine Zielgruppe. ( )
  newcastlee | Dec 30, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Modiano, Patrickprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cameron, EuanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clarke, ChrisTranslatorsecondary authorsome 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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"Who was Louki? Did anyone really know? She made her mark on all of us in different ways. We all remember her, some of us more than others, but did any of us truly know her? Can anyone honestly say they know another person? In the Cafe of Lost Youth is vintage Patrick Modiano, an absorbing evocation of a particular Paris of the 1950s, shadowy and shady, a secret world of writers, criminals, drinkers, and drifters. The novel, which includes vignettes of a number of historical figures and is inspired in part by the circle (depicted in the photographs of Ed van der Elsken) of the notorious and charismatic Guy Debord, centers on the enigmatic, waiflike figure of Louki, who catches everyone's attention even as she eludes possession or comprehension. Through the eyes of four very different narrators, we contemplate Louki's character and her fate, while Modiano explores the themes of identity, memory, time, and forgetting that are at the heart of his hypnotic and deeply moving art"--

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Book description
«Παρίσι, δεκαετία του 60· μια νεαρή γυναίκα εξαφανίζεται. Το μόνο που γνωρίζουμε γι αυτήν είναι το ψευδώνυμό της: Λουκί. Συχνάζει μαζί με άλλους μποέμ τύπους στο "cafe της χαμένης νιότης".
Μα ποια ήταν; Ο Πατρίκ Μοντιανό δίνει τον λόγο σε όλους όσοι τη γνώριζαν, μα ελάχιστα την ήξεραν πραγματικά: έναν ιδιωτικό ντεντέκτιβ, έναν φοιτητή, έναν εκκολαπτόμενο μυθιστοριογράφο, αλλά και τον σύζυγο της Λουκί. Παράλληλα την ακούμε να περιγράφει τη ζωής της, μια ζωή χωρίς ορίζοντα, σ ένα Παρίσι φωτογραφημένο σε άσπρο-μαύρο.
Ο Μοντιανό είναι μια από τις πιο ωραίες φωνές της γαλλικής λογοτεχνίας, αλλά και μια μουσική που συνοδεύεται από απλές λέξεις και σιωπές. Δεν ξέρουμε με πια μαγεία ο συγγραφέας επιτυγχάνει τη δημιουργία αυτής της ατμόσφαιρας, γεμάτης μυστήριο και μελαγχολία. Κατορθώνει να ρίξει φως σε ανώνυμα πρόσωπα και να τα καταστήσει ιδιαιτέρως σαγηνευτικά».
Mohammed Aissaoui, Le Figaro Litteraire
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