In the Café of Lost Youth -By Patrick Modiano (Nobel Literature Price 2014)

Book Reviews

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This review has no spoilers, intelligent, interesting, sweet and cruel!

Every time I read a  Literature Nobel it gives me the chills. What a way to construct sentences, organise dialogues, build a story. The characters of this book are beautiful and neat. They have been constructed like putting grain after grain of sand, adding a little bit of sparkling dust on the top.

It shocks me that Patrick Modiano is not as known in the world as other Literature Nobels. In France, his home country, his name is not very spoken, or heard, or advertised. This is the problem in the literature world. The best seller is not necessarily the best writer, or the best critic acclaimed, or even the most loved by the public. But one thing is sure. Between all the options it was the experts the ones who catalogued Modiano as one of the best contemporary novelist. A true compliment for a kind of silence writer, that is at the same time full of sublime words.

And this story (with only 131 pages, but full of literary richness), is about Louki and her search for an identity. A Parisian girl who looks desperately to scape her roots to submerge once and for all on the nightlife of the Parisian Cafés.

Louki scapes. That is her life. It seems that there is not a trigger, more than a mother who had to constantly leave her alone at home every night to go to work as a cleaning lady at the Moulin Rouge. One night Louki came out the door.  And then further and further away and when her mother died, Louki went adrift. She lived in hotels, she let herself go on every situation and person she met to scape again to those bars, she escaped from her husband, her friends and her acquaintances. Because it was acquaintances what Louki was looking for. The superficiality that gave no room to friendship, that gave no room to intimacy.

Everything happens at the Café Condé, where Louki shelters from the recent past, and from the long past. Louki is beautiful and becomes an obsession for her drinking partners. ‘The lost Youth’, students, artist and all of those fascinated with the Parisian bohemia. And what is Bohemia? A person who lives with no attachments, with no home, no rules and no concerns for tomorrow. That was Louki and those were here acquaintances at the Café Condé.

But where does lead a life lived in the present and with a total rejection for its roots and the past? This is what Patrick Modiano tell us in this story with an unexpected and sentimental finale.

100 % recommended  reading for a cold day in autumn.


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