ABOUT THE BOOK
NYRB Classics Original
Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature
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 (depicted in the photographs of Ed van der Elsken) 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. Through the eyes of four very different narrators, including Louki herself, we contemplate her character and her fate, while Modiano explores the themes of identity, memory, time, and forgetting that are at the heart of his spellbinding and deeply moving art.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Patrick Modiano was born in the Boulogne-Billancourt suburb of Paris near the end of the Nazi occupation of France. He studied at the Lycée Henri-IV and the Sorbonne. As a teenager he took geometry lessons with the writer Raymond Queneau, who would play a key role in his development. He has written more than thirty works of fiction, including novels, children’s books, and the screenplay for Louis Malle’s film Lacombe, Lucien. In 2014, Modiano won the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Chris Clarke was born and raised in British Columbia, Canada, and lives and works in and around New York City. His published translations include work by Oulipo members Raymond Queneau and Olivier Salon. He currently teaches French and is translating a novel by Pierre Mac Orlan, which will be published in 2016.
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“[M]odiano at his height. In 1950s Paris, a young woman nicknamed Louki haunts a café called the Condé, casting a decided allure yet remaining mysterious and unknowable. A young hanger-on, the husband she abandoned, the detective searching for her—all try to grasp her and fail. Not unexpectedly, Modiano withholds her secret life to the end.” —Library Journal, starred review— Cristina Rivera Garza, author of The Iliac Crest