Patrick Modiano — In the café of lost youth | Book Review

Originally Published in 2007

This book, like life, is a collection of points of view on a common matter or in this case, a common time, a common acquaintance. Reading it made me think of a scene being pictured from different angles and by different lenses.

A group of young men and women that come together at a café in the 1950’s Paris talk about this particular woman, Louki, about how their lives were intertwined and how they perceived her. In a way, the time they spent at the café chatting, drinking, trading ideas, was the time of their youth they were losing, and in another way they were themselves “the lost youth” because they led somehow troubled existences.

This is the first book by Modiano that I read and I would like to read a second. Although deeply sad it also made me feel calm, and reflect on parts of my youth that have gone by without giving them much thought. I think you too can relate to at least one of the characters and situations that transpire, that is one of the reasons I can’t wait to give Patrick Modiano’s writing another try.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts about it?

Have you read any other titles by Patrick Modiano?


If you are interested in digging a little deeper, the description in Goodreads and the link to it follows.

In the Café 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, 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, including Louki herself, we contemplate her character and her fate, while Modiano explores the themes of identity, memory, time, and forgetting that are at the heart of his spellbinding and deeply moving art.

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