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So You Don't Get Lost in the Neighborhood

3.23  ·  Rating details ·  4,127 ratings  ·  630 reviews
A haunting novel of suspense from the winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature

In the stillness of his Parisian apartment, Jean Daragane has built a life of total solitude. Then a surprising phone call shatters the silence of an unusually hot September, and the threatening voice on the other end of the line leaves Daragane wary but irresistibly curious. Almost at once,
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published September 15th 2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published October 2nd 2014)
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blereader The book is full of symbolism related to the things that trigger memory. Jean was looking at the police report at the same time as the dress was…moreThe book is full of symbolism related to the things that trigger memory. Jean was looking at the police report at the same time as the dress was present. For him, the dress was as evocative, if not more so, of things past than the police report. The black dress is like a shadow of a person. The fact that Chantal wore it, as well as a woman from the past, repeats the theme of the familiar having a shadow of mystery--the banal and everyday with an odd tinge of menace and threat. The swallows might be adding to the theme of innocent and familiar with nevertheless a mysterious and somewhat menacing edge.(less)
Terry The parents were off living their lives. Jean was an unwanted child. When Annie could no longer take care of him, they put him in a boarding school.…moreThe parents were off living their lives. Jean was an unwanted child. When Annie could no longer take care of him, they put him in a boarding school. It is never stated if Annie was a relative or a friend of Jean's parents. She did not kidnap Jean, she was someone willing to take care of him, for unexplained reasons. (less)

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Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: france, 2015, reviewed
The wise man makes his own heaven while the foolish man creates his own hell here and hereafter. Could one create ones own Paris?

When I was young I used to visit Paris twice a year, fatally in love with the city, and with my beloved. Driving at night to Paris, smoking, listening to Beethoven, John Cale and Cocteau Twins, I still just couldnt believe that he had set eyes on a bookwormish house sparrow like me, abducting me to Paris the first week we were together, skipping all courses we had to
Call this a book of mirages and mirrors that distort the contours of visible reality all the time. Call it a lament for the inevitability of change that erases all the landmarks to a place that anchors one to a past self. Call it a psychological thriller, a faux-noir in which people materialize out of thin air to serve as clues to lead the joyless protagonist to a truth too terrible for him to comprehend all at once. (Faux noir because Modiano ingeniously deploys its signature leitmotifs to ...more
I was in a Paris café the other day. Theres something about waiters in Paris cafés. They like to strike a pose as if they know people watch them. They also have a way of appearing not to listen to your order yet return with exactly the type of coffee you wanted, wearing a smirk. But thats a stereotype description, you say? Well, yes, perhaps, as in a noir novel where the characters are often little more than types, but familiar types.
Theres a couple of noirish types at the beginning of Modianos
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Dolors by: My wish to get lost
Shelves: read-in-2017
Modianos contemplative exploration on the elusiveness of memory revolves around the concept of getting lost. The main idea of this detectivesque novel is that no matter how well acquainted we are with a physical space, no matter how precise our recollections of the past we believe to be, we are condemned to lose our way in the mist of time. Cities change, our identities morph and personal experiences wax and wane us into shapeless creatures that grope in the obscurity of the subconscious.

Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, noir, ebook, 2016, modiano

I do not know why this book works for me that way. Maybe because it is December and the end of the year, moment for summary and yearly settlement. The time when we look back at what we had done and where we have failed. At this time of the year I feel more vulnerable than usual, more willingly to lower my guard. Well, maybe Im just getting sentimental with age but this moment makes me think about things that have happened to me and these whom I let get away, about people I met, about possible
Ahmad Sharabiani
Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier = So You Don't Get Lost in the Neighborhood: Roman, 2014, Patrick Modiano
(2014) Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier;
(2015) So You Don't Get Lost in the Neighborhood, trans. by Euan Cameron (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Jean Daragane, writer and recluse, has purposely built a life of seclusion away from the Parisian bustle. He doesn't see many people, he rarely goes out: he spends his life in a solitary world of his own making. His peace is
Oct 22, 2015 rated it liked it
I was curious about this French Nobel Prize winner whose books are slowly being translated into English. This read was short, atmospheric, and baffling. It deals with the fallibility of memory and the sources of personal identity. It reminded me a bit of Barnes Sense of an Ending, but it too murky to enthrall me very much.

A reclusive,elderly novelist, Jean Daragane, gets an invasive phone call from someone wanting to return his personal phone book which he must have dropped somewhere. The man,
Jacob Overmark
What is life but an endless chain of Déjà vus

The words of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel turns up in my mind.

Is it a kind of dream,
Floating out on the tide,
Following the river of death downstream?
Oh, is it a dream?
There's a fog along the horizon,
A strange glow in the sky,
And nobody seems to know where you go,
And what does it mean?
Oh, is it a dream?

I recognize Modianos longing for an uncomplicated existence from some of his other novels.
Even in an English translation, there is so much melancholy
Chaya Nebel
Oct 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
If you're more into atmosphere than story, this is the book for you.

If you like mysterious women in strange black dresses, but don't care that their plotlines are not resolved or even continued past the middle of the book, this book is for you.

If you like overrated French deconstructionists who care little about coherent --or even basic -- conclusions to novels, this book is for you.
Dec 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This novella is Modianos first publication since he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2014. Translated into twenty-five languages, it allows readers to become familiar with the haunting style that I predict is Modianos signature. In 2016 I plan to read the novel Villa Trieste , and the screenplay Modiano collaborated on with the filmmaker Louis Malle, called Lacombe Lucien .

This is a novel of remembrance, forgetting, and foreboding, aligning the present with the past and the future. Modiano
Paul Secor
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
The past is always with us. The future may be unknown, the present may be unappreciated at times, but the past is always there. We may try to forget the past. We may try to ignore it. We may even try to bury it, but it's always there.

Jean Daragane, the protagonist of So You Don't Get Lost in the Neighborhood, is a man who has tried to avoid dealing with his past. He has a locked suitcase filled with memorabilia from his past, and tells us several times that he has lost the key to unlock it. The
David Schaafsma
I cannot provide the reality of events.
I can only convey their shadowStendhal

He saw this period of his life through a frosted window--Modiano

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known--1 Corinthians 13:12

. . . well time slips away
And leaves you with nothing mister but
Boring stories of glory daysBruce Springsteen, Glory Days

In his sixties, my teacher and friend SD engaged in a series of exercises he referred to
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: public-library
Faulty memories, questionable identities. A man who only wants to be left alone. His cherished solitude is about to be ruined. This translation from the French was a trifle nuanced for me story-wise; too rife with symbolism for my taste. Or maybe I just wasn't in the mood to work that hard.
Jun 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, france, fiction
Updated July 22, 2016 with some photos. Yes I might be a little obsessed...

Once again, she burst out laughing. Her laughter and the noise of their footsteps echoed in these streets, one of which bore the name of a forgotten writer.

"She" is described as living at 18 Rue Alfred Dehodencq (in the 16th arr. near the Bois de Boulogne and the Ranelagh Gardens). Intrigued by the mention of "a forgotten writer" I took to Google maps to see who could it have been? Perhaps Modiano was leaving a clue.
Dec 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Many years afterwards, we attempt to solve puzzles that were not mysteries at the time and we try to decipher half-obliterated letters from a language that is too old and whose alphabet we don't even know.

Welcome to a simple yet disturbing turn. Modiano provides a world where the pieces don't quite fit. There are gaps and incongruities here. Chance encounters jar an author from his solitude. He himself is expected to provide answers, which only disorients him further. Insert citations about Noir
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reading Modiano is like entering someone's dream so intensely it almost begins to feel like one's own.

This book is closely related to Suspended Sentences: Three Novellas, the only other book of Modiano I have read. In the title story of that work, we read about a boy who is surrounded by illegal activity, a neglectful mother, a sense of mystery the boy, who appears to be quite isolated, cannot penetrate.

In this work, an older writer, Jean Daragane (perhaps a stand-in for Modiano?) is at home.
Fiona MacDonald
Started off very interesting and rather gripping, but then changed to become slightly dull and confusing. I have no doubt that Modiano is a great writer, and can set an atmospheric scene, but can he keep the momentum up throughout the book? For such a short novella, I found that on this occasion I lost interest. The idea of a mysterious man honing in on an author who lives alone in his apartment under the pretence of being a fan is rather eerie, but this eerieness becomes silly by the time we ...more
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I had little time to pickup a book at the airport.

The book was advertised as a Nobel prize winner, so I thought why not. It must be at least ok.

This is the first and last time that I buy a book by its cover...

The story is quite blurry. I guess it's done on purpose in order to give an impression of amnesia, which one of the central themes in this book, but still. For me, it was just one more reason not to feel concerned by what was going on.

Also, the style is good but not impressive.

I'm not 100%
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been singing along with each of Modiano's new tune for the past 40 years... as if each book was a long forgotten song from my own suppressed memories.
I have started to believe that, although I am quite a bit younger than he is, he has somehow been my guide all along. I am also a typical post WWII French child, with my own murky origins, unanswered questions and inevitable "mal de vivre", and that is surely why he has been my Pied Piper, initially taking me to the war torn universe of my
Sebastien Castell
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: literary, mystery
Reading Patrick Modianos So You Dont Get Lost in the Neighborhood felt to me like being six years old, having someone hand me War & Peace and then asking me to review it. Umm . . . boring and, like, I didnt get it, would be my six-year-old selfs reply  not because the book itself isnt great, but because I lacked the skill and experience to understand it. In other words, So You Dont Get Lost In The Neighborhood might be a brilliant, inciteful novel about the unreliability of memory, but if so ...more
Roger Brunyate
Left at the Border

Patrick Modiano writes memory books. Sometimes they have the manner of detective stories. At others, more like Proust's madeleine. This one, which must be close to the author's thirtieth novella and the eighth or ninth I have read, begins distinctly in the noir mode. Then that fades out and the atmosphere becomes Proustian, if only slightly. And then the madeleine disintegrates and we are left with what? A sense of vague mystery and regret. A small boy left alone in a house
Philippe Malzieu
I was mistaken on Modiano. But I have some excuses. It was a time when the beautiful girls swore only by Modiano and Truffaut, whereas we preferred German literature and cinema. The beautiful girls took to us for louts.The beautiful girls were inaccessible for us. I have read nothing of Modiano for 30 years. And then there was the Nobel. I read this book, and really it is very well. It is thus for the novels, they are always linked to our life. Probably, I will read all his books.
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Dejan by: Agnieszka
Forgetfulness comes with old age. For some people, it might even be redeeming. As the protagonist of this story, Jean Daragane, vividly states, it is like gazing at the world through a frozen window, the faces distorted and details unnoticed. However, seeing a familiar name might recall memories of the past, sometimes bringing with it more than desired. It only takesby Jeans words againan insects bite to pierce the cellophane.

In this story, the "insect's bite" comes from a mysterious man, Gilles
This is another vintage Modiano, both in style and in terms of storyline. As in his previous book "l'Herbe des nuits" we walk through Paris with an older writer who is confronted with a piece of his past that he clearly had repressed. Again a mysterious woman plays the principle role, and around her circles a group of characters clearly of a seedy environment. And even more than in the previous book there is a permanent sense of threat hanging above story and almost all characters seem like ...more
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
This book was like a puzzle for me. I had to match pieces with each other. For this reason, reading this book was interesting to me and just like puzzle I wanted to read to the end to see the result.

Maybe I need to read it one more time to learn sth from that.
Biblio Files (takingadayoff)
Reads like a mystery but ends like a short story -- inconclusively. Not sure what happened there. Clearly, Nobel Prize winning literature is completely wasted on me. Back to my Archie comics and Harlequins...
Feb 13, 2016 rated it liked it
A middle-aged novelist in Paris, Jean, who lives an eremitic existence in an apartment of dubious status, is approached by a man who found Jean's address book in a station cafe and wants to return it. At the same time this man, Gilles, gives Jean a dossier he's compiled, consisting of jumbled notes about various scenarios and characters mentioned in Jean's first novel -- a novel about which Jean can now remember virtually nothing. It seems clear that Gilles knows these elements were in fact real ...more
Debbie Robson
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading a Patrick Modiano novel is like being stuck in a circular maze and you cant get out. With your first Modiano novel you generally start in one of the outer circles and if, like me, you are fascinated with memory and identity, well, you are doomed to wandering through circle after circle, puzzle after puzzle, hoping that one day you will get to the centre and all the questions will be answered. Even some of your personal questions.
Dont worry, along the way you will meet interesting and
John Hatley
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A man who is quite happy being alone receives a telephone call from a complete stranger who has found his address book and wishes to return it. They arrange to meet and at that meeting a name is mentioned that he doesnt immediately recognize but which leads him to embark on a journey of discovery into his own past. As the books cover suggests, the story is at once melancholic and beautiful. ...more
Hákon Gunnarsson
This is one of those mysteries that isnt a genre mystery. A reclusive writer gets a strange visit, and he ends up investigating a case, but there may not really be a case in the usual sense of the word. In a way he is searching for his own past, his own childhood. it. Its a book that relies more on mood than plot, but he does it in such a way that it leaves me wanting to read more of his work.

It is beautifully done. Modiano has got a Nobel prize in literature in 2014, but I cant say that I like
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Patrick Modiano is a French-language author and playwright and winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature.

He is a winner of the 1972 Grand prix du roman de l'Académie française, and the 1978 Prix Goncourt for his novel "Rue des boutiques obscures".

Modiano's parents met in occupied Paris during World War II and began a clandestine relationship. Modiano's childhood took place in a unique

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“Many years afterwards, we attempt to solve puzzles that were not mysteries at the time and we try to decipher half-obliterated letters from a language that is too old and whose alphabet we don't even know.” 13 likes
“In the end, we forget the details of our lives that embarrass us or are too painful. We just lie back and allow ourselves to float along calmly over the deep waters, with our eyes closed.” 7 likes
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