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Pub Date October 25, 2015
One of the hallmarks of French author Patrick Modiano's writing is a singular ability to revisit particular motifs and episodes, infusing each telling with new detail and emotional nuance. In this evocative novel the internationally acclaimed author takes up one of his most compelling themes: a love affair with a woman who disappears, and a narrator grappling with the mystery of a relationship stopped short. Set in mid-sixties Paris, After the Circus traces the relationship between the narrator, a young man not quite of legal age, and the slightly older, enigmatic woman he first glimpses at a police interrogation. The two lovers make their uncertain way into each other's hearts, but the narrator soon finds himself in the unsettling, ominous presence of others. Who are these people? Are they real, or simply evoked? Part romance, part detective story, this mesmerizing book fully demonstrates Modiano's signature use of atmosphere and suggestion as he investigates the perils and the exhilaration of young love.
This novel takes place in Paris, reading Patrick Modiano is like getting lost in Paris for a day or two....
Jean, at eighteen is still a naive young man..until a beautiful young woman agrees to a cafe at Jean's invitation. Gisele, is all of 21 years of age to Jean's eighteen, a fact he will change by adding three years.
Both Gisele along with Jean had been interrogated by detectives, and let go however on different cases.
Needing a home to stay, until Gisele finds a new place, she entrusts her two suitcases to Jean who although invites her to stay at his dad's apartment. Jean's dad having left permanently to Switzerland. And so a friendship begins.
And an odd friendship it is...Jean never questions Gisele's strange friends to whom he is introduced, or Gisele's strange disappearances...until the day she asks him to do her a favor for these friends.
Jean is narrating this story now thirty years later, trying to make sense of what happened to him at eighteen. Was Giselle in love with him, or was she using him unscrupulously?
At eighteen a beautiful woman can lead an eighteen year old astray. It is important to remember while reading this little gem of a book, the story takes place in 1960, when we all where much more impressionable than today.
I can't emphasize enough how beautiful Patrick Modiano's written word is. Nobel Prize winner, Patrick Modiano is a prolific author, the next move!s I will read in it's original language, French. This is an ARC from NetGalley, translated into English, which is wonderful, quite a few of Patrick's novels are translated.
A must read...for the story and for the beautiful writing.
Thank you NetGalley and Yale University Press