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Dans le café de la jeunesse perdue

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  7,712 ratings  ·  923 reviews
«Encore aujourd'hui, il m'arrive d'entendre, le soir, une voix qui m'appelle par mon prénom, dans la rue. Une voix rauque. Elle traîne un peu sur les syllabes et je la reconnais tout de suite : la voix de Louki. Je me retourne, mais il n'y a personne. Pas seulement le soir, mais au creux de ces après-midi d'été où vous ne savez plus très bien en quelle année vous êtes. Tou ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published December 2008 by Gallimard (first published October 4th 2007)
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Ana España I’m reading it. I like it, I think is written well. The topic is very nice. I also love the description of the characters
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Mutasim Billah
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france

"There were two entrances to the café, but she always opted for the narrower one hidden in the shadows."

Paris, 1950s. We're inside a café called Condé. Bohemian youth and some older men form the crowd of this Condé, where our central character walks in. She's a young lady, mysterious, elegant and awkwardly quiet in her ways. The regulars at the café call her Louki, but no one apparently knows her real name.

Where did Louki come from? What was her past like? What is with this enigma surroundin
Steven Godin
“She had known right from the outset that things would turn out badly for us.”

Young, disaffected students along with the failed and weary are the patrons of the cafe Condé—collectively known as “the lost Youth,” gathering throughout day and night to pass time.
War is over, there is a new calm throughout Paris, but meaning has been drained from life, and lost souls seem to be in every direction. But then there’s Louki to provide a pick-me-up, young, elegant, mysterious and heavenly quiet. Who is
Jun 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those in search of their lost youth
Recommended to Dolors by: Cristina
Shelves: read-in-2016
Set against the backdrop of the sixties in Paris, “In the Café of Lost Youth” explores the idea of a safe haven for those who wander through the “neutral zones” of a city where past, present a future are disquietingly interconnected.

Bohemians, undergraduates, writers and philosophers find common ground in the “Condé”, a café where the four narrators struggle to set straight their half-remembered lives while navigating the turbulent waves of an elusive present. But unlike Proust’s “recherche”, t
Jim Fonseca
The focus is initially on a group of Paris café regulars; men and women, all between the ages of 19 and 25. Three older men hang out with the group.

The young people may or may not be students – they drink too much even for students. The motherly café owner things of them as stray dogs and thinks “things will turn out badly for them.” One of the older men says “I didn’t have high hopes for their futures.”


A mysterious young woman, habitually alone in the cafe, is invited into the group. They giv
Paris in the 1950's. If I could choose a time travel destination, it might just be there and then. The War was history, the city was beautiful, and a Bohemian lifestyle existed in a cafe culture that I would have loved to experience.

That's the setting for this melancholic story by Modiano. The story of Louki, the enigmatic young woman who is emotionally and spiritually lost. She is constantly on the move through the streets and cafe's of Paris, seeking out others like herself.

This is my second n
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017

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 cafe of lost youth.

With this epigraph by Guy Debord I feel ready to dig into my first mystery novel by Patrick Modiano and discover what is so special about his stories to merit a Nobel Prize in literature...

The central mystery of this slim yet multi-layered novel is the eternal "cherchez la femme" – the quest to unlock the myster
This is my second experience of Patrick Modiano - I read Dora Bruder a few years ago and to be honest didn't really enjoy it or quite get the point of it. It has been chosen as a group read this month by the 21st Century Literature group.

It is only a short book, and perhaps I made the mistake of reading it in several sessions over four days because other commitments meant my reading time was limited, so I feel I missed some of the resonances. It is quite an elusive story - what plot there is con
Jacob Overmark
This has been a very emotional trip to Paris, touching on so many levels.

I picture myself walking the streets of Paris.
My then girlfriend was studying and working near the Opera, and I had too much spare time.
It is morning, midday, afternoon, evening and night. At all hours I am exploring, new streets and new quarters, going by the Metro to the last station on the line, some times walking back.
I have seen all the characters who might have lost their youth, and those clinging hard to what´s left
Jun 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of things have been written about Modiano's "little music", and once again it is his little music (a certain way of writing, a unique way of creating a special atmosphere, etc) that holds this novel together and makes its undeniable charms. Not by any means Modiano's best book, it is nevertheless as delightful, dreamy, bitter-sweet, vaguely melancholy and extremely nostalgic, as most of his novels are. Nothing much happens, in this story about a mysterious young woman whose portrait emerges ...more
Vicky "phenkos"
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a sense of sadness as I begin to write my review of this book. Sadness because the book is about someone or something lost; the titular youth or the selves each of the four narrators has left behind. But also sadness because nothing is crystal clear, there is no certainty or redemption anywhere.

If you have read anything by Modiano, you’ll know that he is not a conventional writer and doesn’t stick to a single genre. Instead, his books comprise elements from many different genres: myste
Ahmad Sharabiani
Dans Le Café De la Jeunesse Perdue = In the Café of Lost Youth, Patrick Modiano
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 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. Throug
Oct 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel
I read this book without knowing anything about its subject, its form or anything. I just liked the title and decided to read it. It's a very interesting exercise of literature and the style is totally enticing: while reading it I had the feeling that I was in a boat on a really quiet sea, being carried by the lullaby of the waves. It was a strange sensation and it continued up to the very end.

I don't want to write anything about the subject of the book itself as I think any prior information yo
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Khashayar Mohammadi
I'm not sure what I read, and I'm not sure why I read it. Maybe the book had a certain cultural significance at the time that is lost for readers of my generation.
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
I had sat down at the counter. I had taken a postcard and started to write. "Just wait a little bit longer. I think things will be better." I had lit a cigarette and stuck a stamp on the card. But who to send it to?

This is my first experience of Modiano and I am grateful to the 21st Century Literature group for choosing it for the February 2018 group read because I doubt I would have picked it up otherwise. It is very short, but it probably needs at least 2 readings to get to grips with it.

The title of this book, with a reference to a 'lost youth', immediately arouses a sense of melancholy that is the trademark of Modiano. This is the fourth book that I read of him, and I can quite understand that people say that he always writes the same book: about people who look back on their past, automatically generating a certain nostalgia. But they do this invariably out of a sense of deprivation, a deficit in the present that they are trying to fill with that past. In vain of course. More ...more
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first Modiano, and although I liked this well enough, doubt I'll be feverishly anxious to read more anytime soon. Not having been to Paris, I found the constant detailing of streets (to no discernible purpose) more than a little tedious - it seemed at times to be nothing more than a written walking map of the city. But the nostalgic feel for lost youth, the noir-ish elements, and the fitting the pieces of the four sections together to get a still incomplete picture of Louki, I liked quite a b ...more
David Schaafsma
In The Café of Lost Youth is maybe my fifth book by 2014 Nobel winner and Parisian Patrick Modiano, evoking a time in Paris in the fifties, a time of young people in cafes. Ostensibly, as with some others of his work, it is in part about a search for a mysterious woman, a waiflike Jacqueline Delangue, nicknamed Louki (and everyone in Café Conde at that time were given nicknames, in part to keep the air of mystery and secret identity some of them wanted to preserve). Someone in the Conde tried to ...more
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I sat with my pile of books, trying to decide what to read next, and felt immediately drawn into this world. The writing invited me to wonder about a young woman, new to the Bohemian mix inside a mid-20th-century, Parisian café. We see her through multiple perspectives, creating both a sense of intimacy and mystery. Then we hear from her.

This is a novella - a slice of life in a moment in time. The writing is clean, accessible and stimulating.
In the end, I felt cheated, I wanted more. But, I thin
Jan 18, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was the first book I've read by Patrick Modiano, the well-known contemporary French novelist, and I have to say it was disappointing.

I was initially attracted to it by the title, a reference drawn from 60's radical and Situationist theorist Guy Debord's "anti-memoirs."

Loosely, the story revolves around a mysterious young Bohemian woman, Louki, described from several points of view: a young student who frequents the same café; a private-eye hired by her much-older husband to find her; Rola

When I got to the end of the story my heart became heavy. I put the book down and sat for a longtime. How can an author make me feel this way when other authors are unable to do so?

Paris, 1950s. She used to frequent the Conde Café just to sit with the intellectuals, to listen, not to partake in their conversations. No one really knew who she was, but then, no one knew the real identities of the other customers for they had all been given nicknames. Hers is Louki.

A man who also frequente
Inderjit Sanghera
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the novel is principally about a rather drab and mediocre young woman named 'Jacqueline Delanque', whose story is glimpsed via the prism of three narrators, a lover, a casual acquaintance and a detective, as well as Jacqueline herself, the real character in the story is the city of Paris, or rather it's under-belly, the quiet quiescent back-streets, the dark and dingy cafes where intellectuals and misfits congregate,  the neon lights and hotels which happen to house and hide the nebuli ...more
J.M. Hushour
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"In this life that seems to be a vast, ill-defined landscape without signposts, amid all of the vanishing lines and the lost horizons, we hope to find the reference points, to draw up some sort of land registry so as to shake the impression that we are navigating by chance."

A kind of detective story of life that is a near-perfect little novel. Its simplicity will dog you for hours after finishing it for belying itself with the haunting feeling that beneath its almost curt and streamlined prose i
Mar 19, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I get why Modiano won the Nobel Prize, but for some reason he really isn't to my taste. There is music in the writing, but I really don't care about what happens to anyone or anything in this book. It's not you Modiano. It's me. We are just not meant to be.

(NYRB Bookclub selection for March 2016)
George Georgiadis
Nov 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mille-feuille
Patrick Modiano meets French New Wave.
Marcus Hobson
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first trip into the world of Patrick Modiano, and I and sorry that I haven’t been here before. This is just wonderful.

There is no introduction and very little is gleaned from the back cover of this edition. The book is a slow building piece of investigation, where the reader will gradually create the picture of a young woman who inhabits a Parisian café.

I love the way the story builds by fragments, rather like a police investigation, tiny insights being gathered from different places and sou
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translations
I loved the atmosphere, but I didn’t get much more than that out of the book.
Sep 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Patrick Modiano's In the Cafe of Lost Youth is a decidedly French reflection on time, our movement through it, and the ways in which love and loss restructure it.

Louki is a young woman in the midst of Bohemian Paris. At one point the daughter of a sex worker at the Moulin Rouge and at another point the wife of a man thirty years her senior, Louki escapes the tragedies of her life through her regular visits to the Conde cafe and through the use of "snow" with her friend Jeannette. Loved by many
Nov 01, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french, 20th-century
What a perfectly stupid little book. Why are critics so besotted with Modiano? No story, no style, no wit, no depth, no nothing. A guy reminisces about a girl who used to frequent a café frequented by a coterie of young people, none of whom are evoked to you in such a way as to pique your interest. We get some repetitious stuff about how mysterious she was, and into esoteric astronomical theory, and how she was reading a book about a Renaissance mystic, Louise du Néant (ooooh, very significant, ...more
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novellas
After enjoying (with some reservations and frustrations) Modiano's Suspended Sentences, I picked this up because I was interested in seeing what he might do with a slightly more sustained narrative--and also because I've been trying my best to read primarily short novels lately. I'm interested in the space between novella/novel, and what makes a piece of fiction feel sustained and satisfying at around a hundred pages. In the end, this book represents an interesting example of this particular for ...more
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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 atmospher

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“For me the autumn has never been a sad season. The dead leaves and the increasingly shorter days have never suggested the end of anything, but rather an expectation of the future. In paris, there is an electricity in the air in october evenings at nightfall. Even when it is raining. i do not feel low at that hour of the day, nor do i have the sense of time flying by. i have the impression that everything is possible. the year begins in the month of october.” 18 likes
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