Cover image for Villa triste
Title:
Villa triste
Author:
Modiano, Patrick, 1945- author.
Uniform Title:
Villa triste. English
Publication Information:
New York : Other Press, [2016]

©1975
Physical Description:
170 pages ; 21 cm
Summary:
The narrator of Villa Triste, an anxious, roving, stateless young man of eighteen, arrives in a small French lakeside town near Switzerland in the early 1960s. He is fleeing the atmosphere of menace he feels around him and the fear that grips him. Fear of war? Of imminent catastrophe? Of others? Whatever it may be, the proximity of Switzerland, to which he plans to run at the first sign of danger, gives him temporary reassurance. The young man hides among the other summer visitors until he meets a beautiful young actress named Yvonne Jacquet, and a strange doctor, René Meinthe. These two invite him into their world of soirees and late-night debauchery. But when real life beckons once again, he finds no sympathy from his new companions.
General Note:
"First published in French as Villa Triste by Editions Gallimard, Paris, in 1975"--Title page verso.
Language:
English
Added Author:
ISBN:
9781590517673
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

The narrator of Villa Triste, an anxious, roving, stateless young man of eighteen, arrives in a small French lakeside town near Switzerland in the early 1960s. The young man hides among the other summer visitors until he meets a beautiful young actress named Yvonne Jacquet, and a strange doctor, Ren Meinthe. These two invite him into their world of soirees and late-night debauchery. But when real life beckons once again, he finds no sympathy from his new companions. Modiano has written a haunting novel that captures lost youth and the search for identity.


Author Notes

Paul Modiano is a French writer who was born on July 30, 1945, in Boulogne-Billancourt. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2014 for his lifetime body of work. He previously won the Austrian State Prize for European Literature in 2012 and the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca from the Institut de France for his lifetime achievement in 2010. His other awards include the Prix Goncourt in 1978 for his novel Rue des boutiques obscures and the Grand prix du roman de l'Académie française in 1972 for Les Boulevards de ceinture.

Modiano's works explore the traumas of the Nazi occupation of France and the puzzle of identity. His preoccupation with the theme of identity can be seen throughout many of his works including his 2005 memoir entitled Un Pedigree. Modiano was greatly influenced by his parents' relationship. His mother and father began their clandestine relationship during occupied France. Growing up, his father was absent for most of his life and his mother was away frequently while on tour acting. He was alone much of the time and went to school because of government aid. His younger brother died of a disease at age 10 and this added to his "lost identity" feelings while growing up.

Modiano first came to prominence in France when he wrote the 1968 book La Place de L'Étoile. He has published over 30 works which include novels, screenplays and children's books. His other works include: La Ronde de nuit (1969), English translation: Night Rounds; Rue des boutiques obscures (1978), English translation: Missing Person; and Quartier Perdu (1984), English translation: A Trace of Malice. Although he is well known in France, only about 12 of his works have been translated into English.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Beautifully translated by Cullen, this is more substantial and satisfying than much of what has appeared thus far from Nobel laureate Modiano (After the Circus, 2015). Its length allows a picture to develop not just of the three main characters but also of a brittle community of small-time resort celebrities, of hangers-on with nothing to hang on to. Young lovers Yvonne and the narrator, Victor, a swindler pretending to be a Russian count, while away their days in a hotel and spend their evenings in the company of René, a doctor who crosses the lake from France to his mysterious practice in Geneva. In the 1960s, with the Algerian War in the news, Victor feels that time has stopped here, in the Haute-Savoie. Spending the occasional night at René's Villa Triste, he and Yvonne sink to this: We'd start at opposite ends of the house and crawl toward each other in the dark. Victor realizes that he never believed his own lies, and never knew the truth about his own life or other lives spent without being lived.--Autrey, Michael Copyright 2016 Booklist


Library Journal Review

An elliptical narrative with a submerged past and memory shifting like smoke, this story has all the hallmarks of Nobel Prize winner Modiano's writing. But with more details forthrightly given and a franker sense of the erotic, it is refreshingly different, too. In the early Sixties, a restless young man who calls himself Count Victor Chmara hides out in a fashionable French resort town on a lake near Switzerland. What he's hiding from remains uncertain, though brief reference is made to the ongoing Algerian War and shadowy events in prewar Berlin. Soon he's linked up with aspiring actress Yvonne Jacquet and Dr. René Meinthe, an older friend of hers whose sexual proclivities briefly touch the narrative's surface. This mysteriously wealthy twosome invites the young man to leave his dowdy boardinghouse and move into their elegant abode, and he pursues an increasingly heated affair with Yvonne. Suddenly, it all falls away, and our young hero is left with questions while remaining a question mark himself. VERDICT Adding more color to Modiano's exquisite palette; highly recommended. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.