Books: ‘In the Cafe of Lost Youth’ by Patrick Modiano

In the Café of Lost Youth is a magnum opus of writer Patrick Modiano (b. 1945). The book is short (with less than 200 pages), yet its meaning far exceeds that. It is an absorbing narrative of four characters at the Le Conde café in Paris: a mining school student, a private detective investigating Louki, Louki and her lover Roland. The story is set in Paris in the 1950s Paris, in the shadowy and secret world of writers, criminals, drinkers, and drifters. All four characters in the book have different backgrounds and through their eyes, we can see many other lost souls and the way that they struggle to escape the melancholic darkness of life.

Modiano’s greatest success lies in how he dissects each fragment of the soul and tries to solve the innate mysteries inside each character. One reads a book like this to get lost in a dismal maze, where time and mind go hand in hand with each other and somewhere inside those inner pieces of soul, you will find yourself.

Called “the Marcel Proust of our time”, Modiano was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 “for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation.”

Leave a Reply