Read L'herbe des nuits by Patrick Modiano Free Online
Book Title: L'herbe des nuits|
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 544 KB
v The author of the book: Patrick Modiano
Date of issue: May 13th 2014
ISBN 13: 9782070456963
City - Country: No data
Read full description of the books L'herbe des nuits:Review originally published at Learn This Phrase.
I hadn't planned for such a recent translation to be the first Modiano I read, but its appearance on my local library's 'New Books' shelf was irresistible. In the end, I consumed this brief, hallucinatory novel in one gulp.
Within its pages is an account of a journey: that of a writer named Jean, who wanders Paris in search of the truth about a woman he loved long ago. It's a mystery of sorts - the woman, Dannie, may or may not have done something terrible, and this is shrouded in secrecy, as is the exact nature of her relationship with a gang of shady criminals. But it's also a dreamy stream-of-consciousness that's at its strongest when ruminating on the power of memory, allowing the narrator to slip back and forth in time until the lines between present-day reality and echoes of the past become blurred. Memories merge with the act of remembering. Indeed, the story starts with the line: 'And yet, it was no dream'; Jean might be making a statement here, but he's just as likely to be trying to convince himself. They were only a few centimetres away from me behind the window, and the second one, with his moonlike face and hard eyes, didn't notice me either. Perhaps the glass was opaque from inside, like a one-way mirror. Or else, very simply, dozens and dozens of years stood between us: they remained frozen in the past, in the middle of that hotel foyer, and we no longer lived, they and I, in the same space of time. The key to Jean's search, and apparently the evidence that none of this was a dream, is his black notebook. He uses the notebook as a guide, trying to traverse the Paris of his past - but he's almost always thwarted, finding the city changed. The story frequently captures the mingled pleasure and pain of revisiting youthful haunts; somehow you expect magic, and get nothing but a vague, off-kilter familiarity and a sense of the inexorable passage of time. Could I possibly have left behind a double, someone who would repeat each of my former movements, follow in my old footsteps, for all eternity? No, nothing remained of us here. Time had wiped the slate clean. The area was brand-new, sanitised, as if it had been rebuilt on the site of a condemned block. And even though most of the buildings were still the same, they made you feel as if you were looking at a taxidermied dog, a dog you had once owned, that you had loved when it was alive. Some of the locations Jean frequented as a young man, such as the country house he and Dannie visited, seem not to exist - did they ever? Then there's the places and people he knew only by code names to begin with. Everything is elusive; even Paris itself is amorphous. Some of the story is told through the medium of Jean's interrogation by a detective; yet another man chasing the truth about Dannie. That idea of the one-way mirror will keep recurring, the image of the present and the past standing on opposite sides of a sheet of glass, close enough to touch. So it is that in dreams you watch others live through the uncertainties of the present, while you know the future.
The Black Notebook is like a Parisian parallel to Tomás Eloy Martínez's The Tango Singer in its vivid portrayal of a city and the pursuit of a shadowy, shifting figure; it also reminded me of First Execution by Domenico Starnone - it's not as explicitly metafictional, but the books share a sense that the story could go anywhere, that memories are malleable and events already long in the past have a multitude of possible outcomes. It might be a quick read, but its depths seem fathomless. I'll certainly be seeking out more Modiano.
Read information about the authorPatrick Modiano is a French language novelist and winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature.
He is a winner of the Grand prix du roman de l'Académie française in 1972, the Prix Goncourt in 1978 for his novel Rue des boutiques obscures and of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2014.
Modiano's parents met in occupied Paris during World War II and began their relationship in semi-clandestinity. Modiano's childhood took place in a unique atmosphere: between the absence of his father -- of which he heard many troubled stories -- and his mother's frequent tours, he had to complete his secondary education by government aid. This brought him closer to his brother, Rudy, who died of a disease at age 10 (the works of Patrick Modiano from 1967 to 1982 are dedicated to him). This disappearance announced the end of the author's childhood, who continued to hold a marked nostalgia for this period.
Modiano studied at the École du Montcel primary school in Jouy-en-Josas, at the Collège Saint-Joseph de Thônes in Haute-Savoie, and then at the Lycée Henri-IV high school in Paris. While he was at Henri-IV, he took geometry lessons from writer Raymond Queneau, who was a friend of Modiano's mother. He received his baccalaureate at Annecy but didn't proceed with his higher education.
His meeting with Queneau, the author of Zazie dans le métro, is crucial. Modiano was introduced to the literary world by Queneau, and this gave him the opportunity to attend a cocktail party given by publishing house Éditions Gallimard. He published his first novel, La Place de l’Étoile, with them in 1968, after having read the manuscript to Raymond Queneau. Starting that year, he did nothing but write.
On September 12, 1970, Modiano married Dominique Zerhfuss. "I have a catastrophic souvenir of the day of our marriage. It rained. A real nightmare. Our groomsmen were Queneau, who had mentored Patrick since his adolescence, and Malraux, a friend of my father. They started to argue about Dubuffet, and it was like we were watching a tennis match! That said, it would have been funny to have some photos, but the only person who had a camera forgot to bring the film. There is only one photo remaining of us, from behind and under an umbrella!" (Interview with Elle, 6 October 2003). From their marriage came two girls, Zina (1974) and Marie (1978).
Modiano has mentioned on Oct 9, 2014, during an interview with La Grande Librairie, that one of the books which had a great impact on his writing life was 'Le cœur est un chasseur solitaire' (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter), the first novel published by Carson McCullers in 1940.
(Arabic: باتريك موديانو)
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