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' Jean... Qu'est-ce que tu dirais sij'avais fait quelque chose de grave ? ' J'avoue que cette question ne m'avait pas alarmé. Peut-être à cause du ton détaché qu'elle avait pris, comme on cite les paroles d'une chanson ou les vers d'un poème. Et à cause de ce : 'Jean... Qu'est-ce que tu dirais... 'c était justement un vers qui m était revenu à la mémoire : '. .. Dis, Blais ' Jean... Qu'est-ce que tu dirais sij'avais fait quelque chose de grave ? ' J'avoue que cette question ne m'avait pas alarmé. Peut-être à cause du ton détaché qu'elle avait pris, comme on cite les paroles d'une chanson ou les vers d'un poème. Et à cause de ce : 'Jean... Qu'est-ce que tu dirais... 'c était justement un vers qui m était revenu à la mémoire : '. .. Dis, Blaise, sommes-nous bien loin de Montmartre ? '' Qu'est-ce que tu dirais sij'avais tué quelqu'un ? 'J' ai cru qu'elle plaisantait ou qu'elle m'avait posé cette question à cause des romans policiers qu'elle avait l'habitude de lire.


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' Jean... Qu'est-ce que tu dirais sij'avais fait quelque chose de grave ? ' J'avoue que cette question ne m'avait pas alarmé. Peut-être à cause du ton détaché qu'elle avait pris, comme on cite les paroles d'une chanson ou les vers d'un poème. Et à cause de ce : 'Jean... Qu'est-ce que tu dirais... 'c était justement un vers qui m était revenu à la mémoire : '. .. Dis, Blais ' Jean... Qu'est-ce que tu dirais sij'avais fait quelque chose de grave ? ' J'avoue que cette question ne m'avait pas alarmé. Peut-être à cause du ton détaché qu'elle avait pris, comme on cite les paroles d'une chanson ou les vers d'un poème. Et à cause de ce : 'Jean... Qu'est-ce que tu dirais... 'c était justement un vers qui m était revenu à la mémoire : '. .. Dis, Blaise, sommes-nous bien loin de Montmartre ? '' Qu'est-ce que tu dirais sij'avais tué quelqu'un ? 'J' ai cru qu'elle plaisantait ou qu'elle m'avait posé cette question à cause des romans policiers qu'elle avait l'habitude de lire.

30 review for L'herbe des nuits Audiobook PACK [Book + 1 CD MP3]

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jim Fonseca

    The author won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2014 and the Prix Goncourt. A man whom we assume is now in his 70’s looks back on his life as a student in Paris in the 1960’s. He attended the City University and his girlfriend at the time involved him in a life of mysteries. Fifty years later he’s still trying to figure it all out. For a while she lived in the American student housing, but she was neither an American nor a student. She has a friend, a Moroccan man, who lives in an apartment compl The author won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2014 and the Prix Goncourt. A man whom we assume is now in his 70’s looks back on his life as a student in Paris in the 1960’s. He attended the City University and his girlfriend at the time involved him in a life of mysteries. Fifty years later he’s still trying to figure it all out. For a while she lived in the American student housing, but she was neither an American nor a student. She has a friend, a Moroccan man, who lives in an apartment complex in a separate apartment from his wife. No one has ever met his wife. A bunch of unsavory characters hang out with them in the hotel lobby. At various times each of them tells the main character something like “stay away from him, he’s into nasty business,” or “don’t get involved with that one, he’ll lead you astray or get you into trouble.” They warn him that his girlfriend has “false papers.” “You’re lucky your hands aren’t dirty.” Almost always anyone he meets with tells him “don’t tell anyone we met; don’t tell anyone we talked.” His girlfriend takes him to a country cottage, but they can’t turn on the lights and they have to hide if anyone comes to the door. She takes him to someone’s apartment (she has a key) to “retrieve things that belong to her.” No one seems to do anything for a living. Eventually he gets questioned by the police in a series of interviews in which they ask him about the woman and the men who hang out in the hotel, but he truly knows little. Just like in real life, a lot of times we never know why; we never solve all the mysteries; we go through life not knowing how or why this or that happened. As the man wanders the old neighborhoods he hung out in 50 years ago, he reflects on real historical figures who lived there before him, such as Baudelaire’s Haitian-born mistress, Jeanne Duval, She’s one of these folks who maybe “never died” He revisits all these locations 50 years later and sees neighborhoods that have disappeared, and those that have deteriorated or gentrified. Not surprisingly, none are what they used to be. So we get a lot of local color of old and new Paris. He uses an old notebook, a diary from the time, as his guide. A poignant symbol of all this change and by-gone people and neighborhoods is his recollection of a woman neighbor who was an actress. She performed in the same play every night. He wonders, what did it all mean now that she is dead, most of her audience is dead, her house and the theater are all demolished – it’s like none of it ever happened. What did it matter that she spoke those words in a play? Some samples of the writing: “I remember I always felt on edge in that neighborhood.” (A feeling of menace is expressed like a mantra throughout the story.) Of the gentrified neighborhood buildings, he writes “…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.” “It was the same feeling you get from staring at a lit window: a feeling of both presence and absence.” His girlfriend disappears of course. Years later we get the feeling he is still in love with her and has been all these years, and in his searching through these old neighborhoods fifty years later, he’s still looking for her. top photo from France Between the 1950's and the 1960's from vintag.es bottom photo from messynessychic.com

  2. 4 out of 5

    Blair

    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 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.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Philippe Malzieu

    Last of the three Modiano's novels bought saturday. I find again this incredible style. It is rather spelbinding. I am charmed. Modiano, the french litterature greatest stylist. There is all his favourites themas : identity research, wanderings in Paris the night, glass of Cointreau in night coffee, rain on paving stones, waste grounds... After having read these 3 books, which are the remarks that I can do ? First, the principal carachter is always Paris, but a fantasmated Paris, the one of Doisn Last of the three Modiano's novels bought saturday. I find again this incredible style. It is rather spelbinding. I am charmed. Modiano, the french litterature greatest stylist. There is all his favourites themas : identity research, wanderings in Paris the night, glass of Cointreau in night coffee, rain on paving stones, waste grounds... After having read these 3 books, which are the remarks that I can do ? First, the principal carachter is always Paris, but a fantasmated Paris, the one of Doisneau, Cartier-bresson or Céline. The city that Malraux did not succeed in saving from property developers. Paris becomes a carnal body, a living organism which bleeds and convulses. It is paradoxally the alone carachter to have a kind of sensuality. Because there is no desire in Modiano's novel. I think now what it is that I did not like in his books when I was a teenager, this absence of « sentiments amoureux » (it is better in french). Love sublimated by style ? It is with that it is seen that we age.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Roger Brunyate

    Conjuring with Names I believe you write somewhere that we live at the mercy of certain silences…. Patrick Modiano's work is built entirely on those "certain silences," things that may or may not have happened in the past, and that leave only the faintest of clues behind them. Clues that Jean, a writer much like the author himself and narrator of this 2012 novella, has written down in an old black notebook. They consist mainly of names, but with Modiano, names are more than enough: Dannie, P Conjuring with Names I believe you write somewhere that we live at the mercy of certain silences…. Patrick Modiano's work is built entirely on those "certain silences," things that may or may not have happened in the past, and that leave only the faintest of clues behind them. Clues that Jean, a writer much like the author himself and narrator of this 2012 novella, has written down in an old black notebook. They consist mainly of names, but with Modiano, names are more than enough: Dannie, Paul Chastagnier, Aghamouri, Duwelz, Gérard Marciano, "Georges," the Unic Hôtel, Rue du Montparnasse…. Over the first few pages, this list of names will be repeated many times, reordered, annotated, extended, giving the reader a sense of déjà vu before he has even read a complete chapter. Modiano does not use names to inform the reader, so much as to lull him into his own limbo, where the present fuses with the past. Modiano conjures with names, and those names are of three types: places, fictional people, and real ones. Every Modiano novel occupies its own particular topography. You can follow his streets, squares, and metro stations on a map. But the map for this book would be one that has altered over time. Jean wanders the streets he had walked as a young man and notices the things that have changed: the cafés that have disappeared, the apartment buildings torn down, the new towers taking their place. And he goes back even further. "It was an obsession of mine," he says, "to want to know what had occupied a given location in Paris over successive layers of time." So he makes notes in the black notebook: Sommet Brothers—Leathers and Pelts Beaugency Tanneries A. Martin & Co.—Rawhide […] Hundred Maidens Hospital "I no longer saw a very clear distinction between past and present," he says of himself, and he writes that way too. Any one page may contain a description of what he is doing now in 2012, something he remembers doing in 1965, or something that he dreams of having done, whether now or then. Yes, it is confusing, but that is why one reads Modiano—to share a confusion that closely mirrors one own fading memories, shafts of understanding, nostalgia, and regret.   Brassaï: Passerby in the Rain Very few of the fictional characters in this novella are central to the plot. There is Jean the narrator, of course, and there is Dannie, the young woman of 21 with whom he falls in love. Much of his time, though, is spent waiting for Dannie while she conducts her mysterious errands, picking up mail at a poste restante, entering a building by one door and coming out by another, removing documents from an apartment while its occupant is out. He suspects that she may have a double or triple life, and perhaps other names. Aghamouri, another of the names from that first list, may see some of these other sides of her. He is a Moroccan, and indeed many of the others have connections to Morocco, though mostly they remain in deep shadow. But one does not read Modiano for his fiction so much as his enigmatic brushes with history. Almost all the dozen books I have read so far by him refer back to the German occupation of Paris in the Second World War, during which Modiano suspects his father, a Jew, used his underworld contacts to aid the Gestapo. But it seems that well has now run dry. The only such reference here is a brief paragraph about bogus Resistance men shooting an innocent woman by mistake. Set in 1965, this novella explorres the fallout from another war, the Algerian War of Independence of 1954–62. For modern English-speaking readers, this episode may be little more than a name, but for Frenchmen of Modiano's generation it was a national trauma that forever changed the country. They would also recognize the cause célèbre that underlies the entire book, though never mentioned by name: the abduction and presumed murder of Mehdi Ben Baraka, a left-wing Moroccan politician and associate of both Che Guevara and Malcolm X; his disappearance has never been conclusively explained to this day.   Mehdi Ben Baraka There is one further aspect of Modiano's use of names that intrigues me, but which I cannot fully explain. That is his use of real figures, mostly dead, as part of the intellectual landscape of his books. In this novel, it occurs partly in the subjects that Jean says interest him as a writer, partly in the original people commemorated in his place names. I found out, for example, that the writer of the song "Dannie" from which Jean's friend took her name, and whom Jean bumps into a couple of times, is the poet Jacques Audiberti—but I don't know his work well enough to know what flavor he adds to the mix. Other names that are repeated again and again are the late 19th-century poet Tristan Corbière, the 18th-century writer Restif de la Bretonne, Baudelaire's mistress Jeanne Duval, and the pseudonymous Baronne Blanche. One connection that I suspect but cannot prove is that several of these figures may be of mixed race, which might tie in with the Moroccan theme. But of this I am sure: Modiano does not sprinkle these names on casually, but as a master chef handles his spices. For those with the knowledge and the palate to savor them, they must make an intriguing dish. And even consumed in partial ignorance, a Modiano novel is a sensory experience like no other.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Overmark

    Even in translation you will instantly recognize the work of Patrick Modiano. Minimalistic, always searching for a time lost and always on foot through a Paris which is forever changing. Notebook in hand, Jean tries to keep time from moving, taking down a list of public benches - and the whereabouts of the people he doesn´t really know. Whereas I never really tire of Modiano´s style, The Black Notebook will never become a favorite of mine. Too much hindsight - which is also a Modiano way - but most Even in translation you will instantly recognize the work of Patrick Modiano. Minimalistic, always searching for a time lost and always on foot through a Paris which is forever changing. Notebook in hand, Jean tries to keep time from moving, taking down a list of public benches - and the whereabouts of the people he doesn´t really know. Whereas I never really tire of Modiano´s style, The Black Notebook will never become a favorite of mine. Too much hindsight - which is also a Modiano way - but mostly reflections on times that went by in search of an identity that never surfaces.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

    The Black Notebook is Nobel Prize winner Patrick Modiano's most recent novel. Like the other work of Modiano that I have read, Suspended Sentences, The Black Notebook has a dreamlike quality; at least, the line between the dream world and reality is very thin. Jean, the narrator, has found an old notebook of his with notes from a time when he was involved with a young woman named Dannie. At least, Dannie is one of her aliases. According to the police inspector who brings Jean in for questioning, The Black Notebook is Nobel Prize winner Patrick Modiano's most recent novel. Like the other work of Modiano that I have read, Suspended Sentences, The Black Notebook has a dreamlike quality; at least, the line between the dream world and reality is very thin. Jean, the narrator, has found an old notebook of his with notes from a time when he was involved with a young woman named Dannie. At least, Dannie is one of her aliases. According to the police inspector who brings Jean in for questioning, Dannie may be involved in a murder. The notebook contains many references to places where Jean and Dannie went and Jean feels as though, in some way (or some world) these places still exist. As in the other book, places in Modiano's universe are vivid presences, as important as the characters in the book. Streets in Paris, sections, restaurants, the suburbs surrounding Paris are named and described in more detail than are the people in these works. There is a magnetic pull to these places, an evocative sense that somehow they hold secrets that will reveal reality to the one who truly connects with them. There is a feeling that going through the door of a hotel or home once visited will connect that person with the world of the time when the person stayed there. It's as though the world is a mirror (an image that is used by Modiano) but that there is another side, like the mirror in a police interrogation room that reflects a deeper reality in which all mysteries are revealed. Modiano's style is the kind that people either love or, if not hate, are bored by. I am captivated by it. I love the dreamlike flow of the prose and the sense that beneath our ordinary encounters lie unknown possibilities. The narrator floats through his life with only the places he passes through as anchors to his experiences. Anything can happen in this world (although the drawback is that it seems that no one experience is superior to any other). There is both promise and threat in this world and a sense that no matter what, it will all pass into the river of time. Thanks to NetGalley and publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Mariner Books along with the author for giving me the opportunity to read this work in exchange for an honest review. It is an opportunity for which I am very grateful.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    The Black Notebook stands out among Patrick Modiano’s novels as both especially brief and especially direct. The Black Notebook centers on the aging Jean’s recollections of his decades-ago, abbreviated affair with Dannie. Older now, perhaps in his late 60s or early 70s, Jean wonders about the reality of his affair: ”And yet, it was no dream. Sometimes I catch myself saying those words in the street, as if hearing someone else’s voice. A toneless voice. Names come back to me, certain faces, certa The Black Notebook stands out among Patrick Modiano’s novels as both especially brief and especially direct. The Black Notebook centers on the aging Jean’s recollections of his decades-ago, abbreviated affair with Dannie. Older now, perhaps in his late 60s or early 70s, Jean wonders about the reality of his affair: ”And yet, it was no dream. Sometimes I catch myself saying those words in the street, as if hearing someone else’s voice. A toneless voice. Names come back to me, certain faces, certain details. No one left to talk with about it. One or two witnesses must still be alive. But they’ve probably forgotten the whole thing. And in the end, I wonder if there really were any witnesses. / No, it wasn’t a dream. The proof is that I still have this black notebook full of my jottings.” (p 1) For Jean, memory exists outside of real time, as did his relationship with Dannie. ”Today it seems to me that I was living another life, inside my daily life. Or rather, that this other life was connected to my drab everyday existence and lent it a phosphorescence and mystery that it didn’t really have.” (p 12). ”. . . [W]riting it today, half a century later — or even after a century; I’ve forgotten how to count the years — I momentarily escape the sense of emptiness I feel. . . I sometimes felt I had lost my memory and couldn’t understand what I was doing there. Until Dannie returned.” (p 76) Jean’s excavation of his memory and his search for the reality of Dannie are aims unto themselves. Jean realizes he’s searching for his memories, rather than actually searching for Dannie. Here’s Langlais, a Parisian detective, speaking with Jean. Langlais ”. . . spread his eyes and looked at me with eyes full of compassion. / ‘Do you think she’s still alive?’ I asked him? / ‘Do you really want to know?’ I had never put the question to myself so plainly. If I were being honest, the answer would be, No. Not really.” (p 108). The act of remembering takes Jean out of his dreary present: ”The past? No, it’s not about the past, but about episodes in a timeless, idealized life, which I wrest page by page from my drab current existence to give it some light and shadow.” (p 35) Jean realizes that ”Now that I’ve been writing these pages, I do think that there is, in fact, a way to combat oblivion: to go into certain areas of Paris where you haven’t set foot in thirty or forty years and spend the afternoon, as if on a stakeout” . . . even a ”few times I thought I recognized Dannie. . .” (p. 100). Jean, now an old man, speaks to Dannie in his mind”You must be hiding out in one of those neighborhoods. Under what name? Sooner or later I’ll find the street. But every day the hours grow shorter, and every day I tell myself it will be for another time.” (p 131) The Black Notebook revisits some signature themes that occur again and again in Modiano’s novels. Uncertain identities and backgrounds: Dannie tells Jean that she’s Casablanca-born, and later learns that in fact born ”quite simply in Paris during the war, two years before me. . . Mirabeau Clinic” (p 122) and that she did eight months for shoplifting. Dannie’s name? Is it Dannie, or Mireille Sampierry, or Dominque Roger? Both Jean and Dannie viscerally feel that shifting identities and uncertain personal backgrounds don’t reflect who they are or the reality of their affair. Here Jean asks Dannie, ”’And is your name still Dannie on your false papers?’ / ‘Don’t make fun of me, Jean.’ . . . / In the middle of the bridge, she stopped short and said: ‘Whether those papers are real or fake, does it really make any difference to us?’ / No, no difference at all. Back then, I wasn’t certain of my own identity, so why should she have been any more so?” (p 84). Jean then and even now knows even less of his identity than he knew of Dannie’s: ” Still today, I have doubts about the authenticity of my birth certificate, and until the very end I’ll be waiting for someone to hand me the long-lost document that shows my real name, my real date of birth, the names of the real parents I never knew.” (p 84) Nostalgia about Paris’ lost cityscape:. Readers of most Modiano novels know that cities, usually Paris, but sometimes Marseille, serve as important characters unto themselves. The Paris of Jean’s youth wasn’t warm or charming, but rather threatening: ”A menace hovered over everything, giving life a peculiar coloration.” (p 25) Aghamouri, Dannie and Jean’s mysterious Moroccan associate, warns Jean to ”’Watch out for yourself . . . Dannie and I, it’s as if we had the plague . . . Around us, you’re in danger of catching leprosy . . .’” (p 71). But despite that remembered menace, Jean now mourns lost cityscapes: ”. . . the neighborhood had lost its soul. It longer had the heart, or the talent.” (p 11). Sadly, I’m nearing the end of the Modiano novels translated into English. Modiano’s French is straight-forward and unadorned, and it translates well into English. The Black Notebook isn’t among the most textured or the richest of Modiano’s novels, but as always with Modiano his treatment of memory, youth, and yearning is wonderful. For anyone who wants to start reading Modiano and wants to avoid the confusion that sometimes accompanies reading him, The Black Notebook is an excellent introduction to him. 4.5 Modiano stars

  8. 4 out of 5

    Eliza Rapsodia

    3.5 REVIEW IN ENGLISH Patrick Modiano's topics (from what I have read) are about Paris and the past, one that no longer exists or is disappearing before the eyes of the protagonist. These themes with a tinge of nostalgia are the most I have identified from his works. This novel combines these themes with a mystery. Jean is a writer who recalls his past in Paris, which happened some twenty years earlier (in the sixties) when he met a girl named Dannie and her strange group of friends, who always me 3.5 REVIEW IN ENGLISH Patrick Modiano's topics (from what I have read) are about Paris and the past, one that no longer exists or is disappearing before the eyes of the protagonist. These themes with a tinge of nostalgia are the most I have identified from his works. This novel combines these themes with a mystery. Jean is a writer who recalls his past in Paris, which happened some twenty years earlier (in the sixties) when he met a girl named Dannie and her strange group of friends, who always met at the Unic Hôtel. He does not mix with their affairs but he is very curious about what this girl is in and why she is more a shadow than a person. The novel has inspiration of a real life issue that happened in France. On October 29, 1965, in the heart of Paris, Mehdi Ben Barka, a leader of the Moroccan leftist in exile, dissapeared and was never seen again. Decades later, testimonies and information have surfaced, confirming that this possible murder was done with the permission of the French government. This event is taken up in a fictional way from the point of view of a character, a writer, who tries to reconstruct the past and a specific moment of his life. In more than 150 pages, there is always great voids that the reader have to fill while flipping the pages. The reader starts lost in a labyrinth, and has to accumulate the pieces and details of the story. Who is Dannie? Will we know? Who were her friends at the hotel? were they dangerous? Many questions are set to be answered and others are left in the air with not complete solutions. Modiano's writing is so sincere and evocative, and always manages to captivate me; Although sometimes he leaves you with more doubts than answers. But is not life always like that? Half said stories, lost memories that return to haunt you, people who you never see again and moments of your life that lurk you years after they happened. For things like that is that I recommend this work a lot. ********************************** RESEÑA EN ESPAÑOL Las temáticas generales (de lo que he leído) de Patrick Modiano van en torno a un París del pasado, uno que ya no existe o que está desapareciendo antes los ojos del protagonista. Estas temáticas con un tinte de nostalgia son de las que más he identificado de las obras de este autor y esta novela combina estos temas con un misterio. Jean es un escritor que rememora su pasado en París, lo que le pasó unos veinte años antes (en los años sesenta) cuando conoció a una muchacha llamada Dannie y a su extraño grupo de amigos que se reunian en el Unic Hôtel. Él no se mezcla con sus asuntos pero tiene una gran curiosidad sobre en qué está metida esta muchacha y por qué es más una sombra que una persona. La novela tiene una inspiración sobre un asunto real que sucedió en Francia. El 29 de octubre de 1965 en el corazón de París, secuestraron a Mehdi Ben Barka, un líder de la izquierda marroquí en el exilio, que jamás se le volvió a ver. Con el tiempo han ido apareciendo testimonios e informaciones que confirman que esto se realizó con el permiso del gobierno francés. Este evento es retomado de una forma ficcional desde el punto de vista de un personaje, un escritor, que intenta reconstruir el pasado y un momento concreto de su vida. Modiano pensando en su siguiente libro. Fuente: Larepública.pe En las novelas tan breves del autor siempre hay una gran serie de vacíos que se van llenando con el tiempo y con las páginas. El lector inicia perdido en un laberinto que tiene que ir acumulando las piezas para ir encajando los detalles. ¿Quién es Dannie? ¿Lo sabremos? ¿Quienes eran sus amigos del hotel? Muchos interrogantes están puestos para ser respondidos y otros se quedan en detalles pero no soluciones completas. La narrativa de Modiano, tan sincera y evocadora, siempre logra cautivarme; aunque sus historias puede que te dejen con más dudas que respuestas . ¿Pero no son así muchas cosas en la vida? Eventos a medias, recuerdos perdidos que regresan, gente que nuca se vuelve a ver y claro, momentos de la vida que nos acechan años después de sucedidos. Por cosas como esa es que recuerdo con mucho entusiasmo su obra.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stef Smulders

    Vague vague vague. The author plays a foul game with the reader by suggesting that he will reveal the connection between past events, while he never does. He does not ask his companions questions when it would be logical, does not include certain information in his 'black book' when it is important, while his excuses not to do this are always artificial, it is an authors trick. Here and there are names of writers and quotes and titles of books mentioned which seem insightful but turn out to lead Vague vague vague. The author plays a foul game with the reader by suggesting that he will reveal the connection between past events, while he never does. He does not ask his companions questions when it would be logical, does not include certain information in his 'black book' when it is important, while his excuses not to do this are always artificial, it is an authors trick. Here and there are names of writers and quotes and titles of books mentioned which seem insightful but turn out to lead nowhere. He encounters an admired poet, one Jacques, who wrote a poem that, by chance? is titled Dannie, like his friend. That poet is called Jacques Audibert and indeed wrote 'Dannie'. Does this bring us closer to understanding this book? No. All loose threads, false tracks. Also the title The night's lawn seems to have little to do with the content. Much mourning for oblivion, wandered by empty streets, doubt. The main character Jean (?), the names of the characters are all insecure as well, has a kind of relationship with one Dannie, but that relationship is as vague as the rest. I can not identify with it. Vague characters looking for a real story. Emperor's new clothes!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katia N

    I read Modiano not for the plot or characters, not even for Paris. I read him for the unique atmosphere he creates. It is like walking through the patchy morning fog: suddenly it lifts revealing you something unexpected and beautiful for a moment or two... and the it thickens again leaving you disorientated and lost waiting for another bright spot. His protagonist refuses to live life linearly. I imagine him almost squinting when he is trying to find these patches of vivid brightness in the fog I read Modiano not for the plot or characters, not even for Paris. I read him for the unique atmosphere he creates. It is like walking through the patchy morning fog: suddenly it lifts revealing you something unexpected and beautiful for a moment or two... and the it thickens again leaving you disorientated and lost waiting for another bright spot. His protagonist refuses to live life linearly. I imagine him almost squinting when he is trying to find these patches of vivid brightness in the fog of his past and remain there for some time with all his senses, oblivious to "today". We all feel this way occasionally; Modiano unlocks my own memories by association which I did not even know existed. I certainly tried to find the door to the little place in a different city where I stayed many years ago, where a lot of things happened which mean a lot to me. And I was very surprised, almost shocked that I did not know anymore which of one of these doors lining up in front of me I used to enter at least twice a day. I thought I would never forget this place. Can I rely then on my memory what happened there? Or it is just a story I am telling myself.... Ps He also effortlessly articulates certain observations which I relate to wholeheartedly: "The truest encounters take place between two people who intimately know nothing about each other" "I have not recorded its into my black notebook the way we tend not to write down the most intimate details of our lives for fear that, once on the paper, they no longer be ours. "

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    As with the other Modiano novels I've read, this is a short book so much poetry and atmosphere in its lines, I just have to stop and absorb. He has said he writes the same book over and over again, but what a book it is. Reputedly somewhat autobiographical, but Paris has never been so haunting or so menacing. ("It was an obsession of mine to want to know what had occupied a given location in Paris over successive layers of time.") Fifty years after the fact, he traverses the same arrondisements As with the other Modiano novels I've read, this is a short book so much poetry and atmosphere in its lines, I just have to stop and absorb. He has said he writes the same book over and over again, but what a book it is. Reputedly somewhat autobiographical, but Paris has never been so haunting or so menacing. ("It was an obsession of mine to want to know what had occupied a given location in Paris over successive layers of time.") Fifty years after the fact, he traverses the same arrondisements he had as a young man in the company of a mysterious woman, trying to piece together her story and thus learn his own. Modiano never gives easy answers and leaves puzzles up to the reader to try and dissemble, but it is the beauty of his language and the haunting quality of his imagery that stays with the reader rather than the plot. The French name for this is The Grass of Night, much more his style than the cryptic Black Notebook

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marc

    This is another very nice Modiano, with all its familiar ingredients: the very real Parisian setting (in this book especially the neighborhoods in and around Montparnasse), the search for a woman the narrator (Jean ..., now a writer) has known 20 years ago for a short time, some "Dannie", who appeared to be in trouble, but he couldn't get more out of her and then she disappeared; the diffuse observations and memories and the ubiquous sense of mystery and nighttime reveries. On the meta-level Mod This is another very nice Modiano, with all its familiar ingredients: the very real Parisian setting (in this book especially the neighborhoods in and around Montparnasse), the search for a woman the narrator (Jean ..., now a writer) has known 20 years ago for a short time, some "Dannie", who appeared to be in trouble, but he couldn't get more out of her and then she disappeared; the diffuse observations and memories and the ubiquous sense of mystery and nighttime reveries. On the meta-level Modiano confronts us again with the paradox of the relativity of time (past and present blend into one another), while the past definitely is another country (which is virtually unattainable). Absolutely beautiful read, and one of the last works of Modiano; winning the Nobel Prize clearly is not favorable for the artistic creativity..

  13. 5 out of 5

    Roberto

    I read this great Adam Thirlwell quote about Modiano that i think really nails it, he said 'You read each Modiano novel for its place in a giant sequence: a new restatement of a single unsolvable crime'. Personally i love an author that goes over and over the same themes (i always think of Paul Auster) because i just find it really human and fascinating to be kinda obsessive like that. So, yeah, reading a Modiano often feels like reading any other Modiano, and this one has all his usual themes, I read this great Adam Thirlwell quote about Modiano that i think really nails it, he said 'You read each Modiano novel for its place in a giant sequence: a new restatement of a single unsolvable crime'. Personally i love an author that goes over and over the same themes (i always think of Paul Auster) because i just find it really human and fascinating to be kinda obsessive like that. So, yeah, reading a Modiano often feels like reading any other Modiano, and this one has all his usual themes, lost (literally she is missing) love, an unsolved crime, memory & time and how they aren't solid, a haunting nostalgia for a specific time & place, these are all things i can get behind...and it's good, it stays with you. I like Modiano a lot.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Another great book by what is turning out to be my favorite living French novelist, Patrick Modiano. The Black Notebook looks across the years of its narrator's life, as he remembers his relationship with a strange young woman named Dannie and some of her dodgy friends. He uses his notebook as a key to his feelings at the time, which apparently made a lasting impression on him. Because of his own background and his own highly unorthodox upbringing, Modiano writes convincingly about people who tr Another great book by what is turning out to be my favorite living French novelist, Patrick Modiano. The Black Notebook looks across the years of its narrator's life, as he remembers his relationship with a strange young woman named Dannie and some of her dodgy friends. He uses his notebook as a key to his feelings at the time, which apparently made a lasting impression on him. Because of his own background and his own highly unorthodox upbringing, Modiano writes convincingly about people who try desperately to understand the past as a possible key to their present, which is never quite so brilliant as their past.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Isabelle

    It is a Modiano novel, and with that come a few truths: it is painfully nostalgic, superb in its simplicity and haunting like an inescapable memory. And then, ther is the title: "The Grass of Nights", which struck me as incredibly beautiful once I had read the book. I just like to repeat it to myself in my mind's voice... It is a Modiano novel, and with that come a few truths: it is painfully nostalgic, superb in its simplicity and haunting like an inescapable memory. And then, ther is the title: "The Grass of Nights", which struck me as incredibly beautiful once I had read the book. I just like to repeat it to myself in my mind's voice...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tripfiction

    Novella set in PARIS 3.5* “Modiano takes up his struggle with memory again, resuscitating people and place in one magnificent, impressionistic tracking shot” (Marianne Payot, Express) – and this quote wonderfully sums up for me the experience of reading this novella. Jean is looking back several decades to the 1960s, a time when Dannie featured in his life. Paris – and particularly Montparnasse – cradles the story, and place and storyline become inextricably linked. There are broad brushstrokes of Novella set in PARIS 3.5* “Modiano takes up his struggle with memory again, resuscitating people and place in one magnificent, impressionistic tracking shot” (Marianne Payot, Express) – and this quote wonderfully sums up for me the experience of reading this novella. Jean is looking back several decades to the 1960s, a time when Dannie featured in his life. Paris – and particularly Montparnasse – cradles the story, and place and storyline become inextricably linked. There are broad brushstrokes of scenes, a haze that envelops his struggle with memory, darker forces which he tries to lock down as he walks the streets all these years later, driven by jottings and notes (all manner of things that catch his eye) in the black notebook of the title. There is a fluency to the writing, translated by Mark Polizzotti and an illusory, ethereal sense to the story. Nothing stays the same but Paris is a constancy as the characters come in and out of focus. I could see the charm and evocative story-telling but for me I struggled to anchor down the narrative sufficiently that I could really, fully engage.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pascale

    I nearly keeled over when I heard Modiano had received the Nobel, and reading this book confirms my views. This story reads well enough, but doesn't amount to much. The narrator who, of course, is a writer, spends his time traipsing around Paris, reminiscing, or dreaming, about a girl called Dannie whom he once knew (and perhaps loved). Dannie was involved with a set of dangerous men with evocative names like Duwelz. The text is larded with coded references to rather minor cultural figures like I nearly keeled over when I heard Modiano had received the Nobel, and reading this book confirms my views. This story reads well enough, but doesn't amount to much. The narrator who, of course, is a writer, spends his time traipsing around Paris, reminiscing, or dreaming, about a girl called Dannie whom he once knew (and perhaps loved). Dannie was involved with a set of dangerous men with evocative names like Duwelz. The text is larded with coded references to rather minor cultural figures like the poets Tristan Corbière and Jacques Audiberti, and Baudelaire's mysterious mistress Jeanne Duval, while a review confirmed that the vaguely political plot references the still-unresolved case of the disappearance of Ben Barka. At the end of the day, Dannie's real identity and responsibilities remain shrouded in mystery. I must say I doff my hat to Modiano for being able to spin so much out of so little, but why, oh why, is such stuff worth a Nobel?

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ridzuan Rosli

    Do we have the right to judge the people we love? If we love them, it’s for a reason, and that reason prevents us from judging them — doesn’t it? — Patrick Modiano, The Black Notebook, 2012. A story of the protagonist and his old black notebook. After half century later, he read back all the notes he jotted down. An unsolved murdered case in Paris. He was trying hard to remember a woman with so many names that she was only known as Dannie. Together with his old black notebook, he went back to the Do we have the right to judge the people we love? If we love them, it’s for a reason, and that reason prevents us from judging them — doesn’t it? — Patrick Modiano, The Black Notebook, 2012. A story of the protagonist and his old black notebook. After half century later, he read back all the notes he jotted down. An unsolved murdered case in Paris. He was trying hard to remember a woman with so many names that she was only known as Dannie. Together with his old black notebook, he went back to the places where he spent time together with Dannie. The book is literally confusing me. I’ve no idea what I actually read. The story is kind of blend everything despite with different timelines. But, it was certainly dark and mysterious. The book made me imagine I was there and staring all those ancient buildings in Paris just like protagonist did. In the of the book, I’m still lost and I cannot find any clue about the case. Modiano intentionally wrote the story like floating in the sky somewhere. Probably need a second read to understand this novel.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bart

    Actual rating: 3.50

  20. 5 out of 5

    Vic Van

    A fairly typical Modiano novel. You're catapulted in a story that seems to have neither a real beginning nor an ending. You don't really get to know much about the characters. Modiano specializes in creating his own typical atmosphere: slightly melancholic and nostalgic, with Paris as an important backdrop, almost as a character in its own right. The books deals with the hunt for and memories about a woman the author was once in love with and who was accused of a murder, the details of which als A fairly typical Modiano novel. You're catapulted in a story that seems to have neither a real beginning nor an ending. You don't really get to know much about the characters. Modiano specializes in creating his own typical atmosphere: slightly melancholic and nostalgic, with Paris as an important backdrop, almost as a character in its own right. The books deals with the hunt for and memories about a woman the author was once in love with and who was accused of a murder, the details of which also remain pretty obscure throughout the book. I wouldn't say this book was really memorable or that I would recommend it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Victor Eustáquio

    More the same. Profoundly empty. Is the same book Modiano is writing for many years but getting worse

  22. 4 out of 5

    Berit Lundqvist

    Random guy walks the streets of Paris, trying to follow the footsteps and solve the mystery of a long lost love. Notes from a black notebook are his guide to the past. A very confused trip down memory lane, and an endless rant of obscure Parisian streets and places. Absolutely no plot. I can’t possibly retell anything of the story after reading it. Worst book ever.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I would really rate this a 3.5 stars, not a choice available to me. This is a story about a writer who in the sixties met a woman who was mysterious and they had a three month affaire before she disappeared. He has turned to a black notebook that he kept at that time which he noted items mostly about the concept of place, what existed before it was torn down and replaced with new buildings and parks. It is a story about memory and how even minor characters return so real at times that it is like I would really rate this a 3.5 stars, not a choice available to me. This is a story about a writer who in the sixties met a woman who was mysterious and they had a three month affaire before she disappeared. He has turned to a black notebook that he kept at that time which he noted items mostly about the concept of place, what existed before it was torn down and replaced with new buildings and parks. It is a story about memory and how even minor characters return so real at times that it is like stepping through a time warp. They are strangely present even though they were relatively insignificant persons that passed through your life yet seem to stand so clear in your memory. It is true that no matter how intimate we are with another person we really never know them or much about them, but perhaps it is also because when we love someone we don't want to know things that might be unpleasant and would cause us to remove ourselves from their presence. The memories of this passion are set in the 60s which were fraught with intrigue surrounding Algeria's push for independence and the war that ensued as France tried desperately to hold onto control of this colony. Dannie, the young woman he loved had ties to many men in her loose circle that were somehow tied to these troubles. He had been called in and interogated by the police regarding his knowledge of these men and Dannie who was using several aliases. Years later with the use of his notebook he tried to retrace his steps, revisiting the places they walked together trying to figure out what he knew or failed to question. Who has not been tempted to retrace our steps in life and relook at past loves and try to determine what it was that we failed to see that lead to the ending of that relationship?

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joe M

    I started Patrick Modiano's new novella during a layover at Charles de Gaulle airport this week and it made me wish so much that I had scheduled an extra day or two to go out and wander the streets, gardens, and cafes of Paris. Like other works I've read of his this year (Paris Noir, Suspended Sentences) The Black Notebook explores similar themes of stirring up the past, re-tracing steps and old haunts, and trying to make sense of memories of lost youth. Here, Jean, now a grown man, reflects bac I started Patrick Modiano's new novella during a layover at Charles de Gaulle airport this week and it made me wish so much that I had scheduled an extra day or two to go out and wander the streets, gardens, and cafes of Paris. Like other works I've read of his this year (Paris Noir, Suspended Sentences) The Black Notebook explores similar themes of stirring up the past, re-tracing steps and old haunts, and trying to make sense of memories of lost youth. Here, Jean, now a grown man, reflects back to the mysteries surrounding a circle of long-disappeared friends and a past love with only the clues from his scattered notes and hazy recollections to guide him. Although I only recently discovered Patrick Modiano, he's quickly become one of my favorite authors. I love the dreamlike quality of his writing and that often he reads like a guidebook to Parisian streets and cafes as seen through dark sunglasses. Characters converse as they navigate half-lit streets, and atmosphere and disquiet pervades every page. You never have to have visited Paris to get a sense of place, and Modiano's version feels like it exists in an alternate reality anyway. All this makes for an incredibly immersive experience and unlike typical noir, Modiano creates suspense by what is often left out or unsaid, and by pulling from chance encounters, fragments of conversations, and quotidian, everyday occurrences. Rather than crafting complex plots, Memories are their own mysteries and usually unreliable witnesses. If you haven't yet had a chance to check out this amazing Nobel Prize-winning author, The Black Notebook is an excellent entry point, and a great place to dive in to his world and get lost.

  25. 4 out of 5

    jeremy

    despite lavish atmospherics and an immersive parisian setting, patrick modiano's the black notebook (l'herbe des nuits) is a rather listless, lackluster affair. bland characters, a banal plot, and languid pacing rob the nobel laureate's newest novel of both prowess and promise. somewhere between beneath an albert cossery novel, german film the lives of others, and a mundane nostalgia piece, the black notebook fails to fully flesh out any of the book's strengths. the elements for an exceptional w despite lavish atmospherics and an immersive parisian setting, patrick modiano's the black notebook (l'herbe des nuits) is a rather listless, lackluster affair. bland characters, a banal plot, and languid pacing rob the nobel laureate's newest novel of both prowess and promise. somewhere between beneath an albert cossery novel, german film the lives of others, and a mundane nostalgia piece, the black notebook fails to fully flesh out any of the book's strengths. the elements for an exceptional work are perhaps all present, yet it's nearly as if modiano contented himself with a thin sketch of what the novel might have been. it's funny how certain details of your existence, invisible at the time, are revealed to you twenty years later, as when you look at a familiar photograph through a magnifying glass and a face or object that you hadn't noticed before jumps out at you... *translated from the french by mark polizzotti (author, translator [flaubert, breton, duras, roussel, et al.], and director of the publications program at the metropolitan museum of art)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bob H

    Due out in late September 2016. A present-day writer, Jean, uses an old notebook to retrace a murky and dangerous period in his life, 50 years ago in Paris. He was involved with a young woman named Dannie -- if that was her name -- who in turn is mixed up with a group of secretive and sinister men. Dannie would draw Jean into their orbit, and Jean in turn would be followed, and questioned by a police inspector, Langlais, both then and on occasion in later years. The notebook, Langlais' file, and Due out in late September 2016. A present-day writer, Jean, uses an old notebook to retrace a murky and dangerous period in his life, 50 years ago in Paris. He was involved with a young woman named Dannie -- if that was her name -- who in turn is mixed up with a group of secretive and sinister men. Dannie would draw Jean into their orbit, and Jean in turn would be followed, and questioned by a police inspector, Langlais, both then and on occasion in later years. The notebook, Langlais' file, and the revisited Paris locations of his youth, provide Jean with fleeting clues, glimpses, into what might have happened. The author writes in a dreamlike, almost hypnotic style, and Jean's viewpoint shifts between the present day and those past encounters. It's not a linear style of narrative but more of a series of glimpses, bits of dialogue, scraps of paper and furtive visits to shadowy locations in and around Paris. It's a highly original way of storytelling, especially of a mystery where little is clear.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    A masterful meditation on the themes of time, place, identity, memory, and liminality. Modiano's prose is what you get when you filter Proust and Camus through Simenon and Frédéric Dard. An exemplary paragraph: "She was probably still lost in her dream. But it didn't worry me. I had often had the same experience: certain dreams - or rather, certain nightmares - can stick with you all the next day. They blend in with your most ordinary movements, and even if you're sitting with friends at an outdo A masterful meditation on the themes of time, place, identity, memory, and liminality. Modiano's prose is what you get when you filter Proust and Camus through Simenon and Frédéric Dard. An exemplary paragraph: "She was probably still lost in her dream. But it didn't worry me. I had often had the same experience: certain dreams - or rather, certain nightmares - can stick with you all the next day. They blend in with your most ordinary movements, and even if you're sitting with friends at an outdoor café table in the sun, fragments of them still pursue you and adhere to your real life, like a kind of echo or static that you can't clear away." The novel is imbued with the atmosphere of a bad dream, and something broadly akin to saudade (or whatever the French version of that might be.) I would have given it five stars if not for the fact that there is so little light to balance the shade. Still, another very good one by Modiano.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    What a steaming pile of crap. Pointless.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michael Rieman

    "I needed reference points, the names of metro stations, street addresses...as if fearing that from one moment to the next people and things would slip away or vanish, and I had to preserve at least some proof of their existence." Jean, now an older writer, says this about his own younger self, when armed with his black notebook, the young man explored the various parts of the Parisian neighborhood in which he had met, and become fascinated with, a young woman called "Dannie." Her mysteries, and "I needed reference points, the names of metro stations, street addresses...as if fearing that from one moment to the next people and things would slip away or vanish, and I had to preserve at least some proof of their existence." Jean, now an older writer, says this about his own younger self, when armed with his black notebook, the young man explored the various parts of the Parisian neighborhood in which he had met, and become fascinated with, a young woman called "Dannie." Her mysteries, and those of several of the people Jean had met during this period, went well beyond their actual names, and seemed to provide a strong stimulus for the young writer. Modiano never gives us a background to the situation described in this novel; the people appear and disappear in this book as they do in the young writer's life, yet they---and especially Dannie--leave a permanent mark on the writer as representing a time more filled with mystery, color and intensity than his current life.In describing that "vanished" but not forgotten time, Modiano allows the reader to go through the same process of discovery, visiting late night cafes, walking the darkened streets, staying at a variety of places "under the radar," and taking part in the life of someone he would never truly know. Information from the files of a retired police inspector, L'Anglais, who was himself interested in Jean's connections to that small group described in the novel, provides some brief glimpses into the characters, but never enough to know them definitively. They were all involved in activities outside the law, sometimes even dangerously so, but Modiano's hints are all we will know. The writer's notes in that black notebook offer him--and the reader--the chance to resurrect a "timeless, idealized life" and to give it "light and shadow." Modiano has worked in this way before, and this is a masterful example of his writing style.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Numidica

    This was my first Modiano book, and I really enjoyed it, though from my perspective, it started slowly. The conclusion was strong, and it caused me to go back and re-read the first few pages, now that I knew the ending. The many descriptions of walking through Paris made me nostalgic for the city. It is an interesting, low-key story about memory, how time changes us and our surroundings, and about longing for lost youth. This book won the Nobel, and I get it, though I imagine it is more powerful This was my first Modiano book, and I really enjoyed it, though from my perspective, it started slowly. The conclusion was strong, and it caused me to go back and re-read the first few pages, now that I knew the ending. The many descriptions of walking through Paris made me nostalgic for the city. It is an interesting, low-key story about memory, how time changes us and our surroundings, and about longing for lost youth. This book won the Nobel, and I get it, though I imagine it is more powerful when read in the original French; my French is sadly not that good, but it was still very good in translation. It is short, and I think a good way to be introduced to M. Modiano.

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