Patrick Modiano, a little-known writer that exploded to fame in 2009 when the Nobel Foundation as it sometimes does, awarded him the Nobel Prize in Literature and suddenly every hipster in Brooklyn started carrying his books; that were in French; without them knowing French… anyway.
He has written many novels but one that is particularly wonderful and mesmerising to read is “In The Café of Lost Youth” (Dans le café de la jeunesse perdue).
A great, magical book that captures the urban essence of a city, its megalopolis feel; its wanderlust quality that Paris is known for and its sweet melancholy. The little streets and the eternity “whispering” between alleys and paths like air.
Patrick Modiano is a master of words, he can write a book with a simple storyline yet be capturing in its core, the book is concerned with the “Forever Young” mentality than humans seem to love and cherish oh so much. It is a story about 5 different people in their prime who make different choices with high expectation yet none of the fruition; a wasteful youth if there is such a thing. That is the question the book brings to mind, can youth be lost or just taken away? You are going to have to read it to find out… If you are really lucky (and observant) you might see a sprinkle of Divine Comedy in there.
Another fantastic book by Patrick Modiano, is Paris Nocturne, same city different feel, Modiano again is able to capture that visceral essence of the city, the eternal city, the one built and rebuilt and offer a compelling storyline full of philosophical esotericisms and questions.
Both books enclose the character of the big city, the urban feel of freedom, possibilities and Dustsceawung.
That is the thing with great cities; they give you a lot yet…
they take so much.