Villa triste

3.33
Quand ils passaient la nuit à la Villa triste, Yvonne et Victor s'efforçaient de ne pas remuer du tout. Mais on sent bien que la sérénité n'était qu'un leurre. Des années après, le narrateur retourne dans la ville d'eaux et invoque, par intermittence, le souvenir nostalgique et lucide de sa relation avec Yvonne, des gens qui gravitaient autour d'eux, des extravagances de Meinthe, fantôme qui nous guide dans les rues aujourd'hui endormies ... Mais ce qui ressurgit avant tout, c'est l'angoisse inexplicable de Victor, qu'il avait espéré apaiser en séjournant dans cette station thermale reculée, à proximité de la Suisse.

Modiano s'appuie sur une langue fluide parsemée de petites formules moqueuses pour donner un tour grave et, malgré tout, léger à son roman. Grâce à cet équilibre habile, il esquisse les contours d'un homme en quête de repères pour supporter sa mémoire, tout comme il était, jeune, en quête d'immobilité et de racines. Et si les estivants de l'époque, ridicules et artificiels, ne sont pas tout à fait détestables, peut-être est-ce parce que le mystère qui plane donne un caractère intangible à cet été lointain. -- Sana Tang-Léopold Wauters

Year of the Publication
Available Languages
Series
Number of Pages
208
Original Title of the Book
Villa triste
Publication Date
Published October 1st 1998 by Gallimard Education (first published September 4th 1975

Public Commentary

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Memories of twelve years previously when Meinthe and Yvonne had appeared in his life, th time when an insecure eighteen-year-old youth had lived as if he were dreaming.

Despite a passionate relationship with Yvonne ( " …in her indefinable accent, which I thought shoul be Hungarian, English or Savoyard ") the young man never really got a grip on who they were.

Was this stateless young man who longed for a place where he could belong really Count Victor Chmara?

rated it

Three characters meet in the 60 ’ s in a mall French town located on a lake across from Switzerland, and veryone seems to be living in the past.

This escription of the casino and cafes in this mall own, as ell as the automobiles, the ay the people dress, it all appears more like the ’ 40 ’ s when there was danger from the Occupation.

But Victor lives in the past.

Melancholy sucked me in from the beginning with a Great Dane dog that also ppears to be acting!, to each of the haracters, who eem to be suspended in time, slow moving, who they are past and present, what are they doing in this mall villag, are all pieces of the puzzle that need to be assembled… ..

Confusing yet compelling, not this nove for anyon- 4 stars for intriguin nature that kept me reading- 3 stars for he story line as I ould even et the pieces to come together and satisfy my curiosity.

About the AuthorA little research online helps me better understand this author which helps me confirm some of my houghts about ook.

In the beginnin, we hav all determined by the place and he time in which we were born. " He writes constantly about the ity of Paris, describing the evolution of its streets, its habits and its resident. "- http: //www.francetoday.com/articles/2 ... My thoughts on a few lines from he ook; Page 137Victor ’ s identity becomes clear? " The rooms in the " palaces " fool you at first, but pretty soon their dreary walls and furniture begin to exude the same feelin as the accommodations and shady hotels.

He accepts that he ever lived in one place, he shares he has anxiety and talks of exile, feeling he does not belong anywhere, yearning to have lived in a small French town like that of Yvonne and Menthe, who wanted to have experienced an idyllic life growing up there.

I ould suggest researching the author and all of his other works to help prov his thought processes prior to reading.

rated it

As typical of later Modiano novels, Villa Triste centers on a mysterious young man ’ s nostalgia for th bygone time, a bygone love, and a bygone city.

In Villa Triste, the nostalgia is that of Victor Chmara reminiscing about his happiness and life almost thirteen years arlier, in about 1962, when he was sixteen.

Wel typical of Modiano ’ s later novels, Yvonne Pacquet, Chmara ’ s lost love in Villa Triste, has an only partially revealed past.

And again typical of later Modiano novels, the romance and the sex between Victor and Yvonne exist only as delicate hints.

The memories in Villa Triste, as in Modiano ’ s later novels, are partial and often unclear, inviting the reader to reminisce along with the reminiscing characters.

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This emarkable thing about Modiano is that his storie are all fundamentally similar, yet he neve anages to introduc new and compelling variations upon his chosen themes.

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If what the press says of Patrick Modiano 's work is true- memories, mostly, of the Nazi occupation of Paris- then this nove is probably atypical.

ertainly the plot, such as it is, is far removed from the capital, unfolding entirely within the bounds of this nameless town which apparently was modelled on he real-life resort of Annecy where Modiano spent a few ears of his youth.

Anothe young man stays at first in a hotel inhabited mainly by middle-aged summertime regulars, but agai he falls in with a mysterious pair- the beautiful Yvonne and the fastidious, slightly menacing Meinthe.

Victor and Yvonne become lovers, he turns into her suite at the Hermitage hotel.

There is an extended synopsi of a fashion contest for couples called the Houligant Cup, which is won by Yvonne and Meinthe.

Her background is provincial-proletarian; her uncle who now runs the family 's garage business invites Yvonne and Victor over for dinner, an evening far removed from the fancy goings-on at the Hermitage or the Alhambra.

Twelve years later, Victor will look back at that long-ago summer and his lost friends.

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Perhaps the dog, a Great Dane, was “ congenitally afflicted with sadness and the ennui of life. ” In Modiano 's lavish description of the locale, a fashionable small French resort across a lake from Switzerland, even the trees hav a mystery: " The vegetation here is thoroughly mixed, it ’ s ard to say if you ’ re in the Alps, on the beaches of the Mediterranean, or omewhere in the tropics.

He is wealthy beyond imagining, but he has fear: he ’ s “ scared to death ” he tells us early on as he ecounts the time he met Yvonne and Meinthe.

Meinthe and Yvonne win the coveted Houligant Cup for that year and are sought-after companions for their edgy stylishness.

Gradually Meinthe and Yvonne share pieces of their shadowy background with Victor, and the glamour, he learn, is all rhinestones and rust.

Initially, when he ambles under the arcades on the Rue de Castiglione reading a newspaper, his education comes full circle, and he mystery begins again.Promotional copy for Villa Triste, due out today in a new translation by John Cullen and published by Other Press, calls it Modiano ’ s most accessible novel.

It may als be, but all Modiano ’ s great themes are present.

The fine translation does justice to the underlying greatness of the work.

The fine piece of literature that can get you mulling events over in your head for a shor time to g.

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© Nicole Waggonner