2926 – Not Fade Away I

Although, they will! Everything does. And that brings me to this year’s winner of the Nobel prize for literature, to Patrick Modiano. I’ve read two of his books now, the German translations of “Dans le café de la jeunesse perdue” and “L’Horizon”. Both are relatively recent works from 2007 and 2010, both are very short and, although they tell different stories, they share very similar motives.

In both books we have a main character who is obviously an alter ego of the author, and in both the “story” circles around a young woman who the main narrator once knew. I say main narrator, because there’s more than one and in both books we also get part of the story from the woman’s perspective. In both books Modiano introduces circumstances, but not necessarily explains them in detail. It’s all very sketchy, and, just like in real life, we are sometimes left with questions without answers. At least in “L’Horizon” this can easily get outright annoying, at least when the author has managed to make you curious about the fates of his protagonists.

OK, so where’s the connection between those books, the image and a song by the Rolling Stones, you ask? Well, these books are about memories fading away, about how chance connects us with certain people and how by chance we part. They are about a certain randomness in how we live and whom we join and for how long we do that, and they are also about how much of that is not even our own choice. We fall together like these leaves and we are driven apart like leaves by the wind. These books are about our vain effort to tie it all together in memory, to not let it fade away. These books are about time.

I like them and I think you may do so as well.