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Searching for identity and connection, it throws up more questions than answers and will have you hooked to the end. The Text Publishing Company. Three-time winner: Small Publisher of the Year. Your basket is empty. Shopping Basket. Translated by Phoebe Weston-Evans. At first I thought it had just grazed me, then I felt a sharp pain from my ankle to my knee… In the opening scene of Paris Nocturne , the nameless narrator is hit by a car near Place des Pyramides.

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The Northern Constellations. The Zodiac, Distant Universes. As I read through the chapters, I no longer even knew why I was lying on that bed in that hotel room. I had forgotten where I was, which country, which city, and none of it mattered anymore. No drug, not ether or morphine or opium, could have given me that sense of calm, which gradually engulfed me. All I had to do was turn the pages. This 'night reading' should have been recommended to me a long time ago. It would have spared me much pointless suffering and many restless nights.

Finally, the horizon stretched out infinitely before me and I felt utterly content looking at stars from afar and trying to make out all the variable, temporary, extinguished or faded stars. I was nothing in this infinity, but I could finally breathe. Was it the influence of my reading?

Nocturne | Louvre Museum | Paris

When I walked around the neighbourhood at night, I continued to feel a sense of fulfilment. All my anxiety was gone. I had been freed from some kind of suffocating restraint. My leg didn't hurt anymore. The bandage had come undone and was dangling from my shoe. The wound was healing. The neighbourhood took on an aspect that was different from when I first arrived. For a few nights the sky was so clear that I could see more stars than ever before. Or perhaps I hadn't noticed them until then. But now I had read The Wonders of the Heavens. At least one could breathe the ocean air there.

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This zone now seemed to be crisscrossed by large avenues that one could reach from the Seine via gardens, sequences of stairways and walkways that looked like country paths. The light from the streetlamps was more and more dazzling. I was surprised that there were no cars parked along the kerb. Every avenue was deserted, and it would be easy for me to spot the sea-green Fiat from a distance. Perhaps parking in the area had been prohibited for the past few nights.

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They had decided that from then on the neighbourhood would be what they called a 'blue zone. Had a curfew been brought in which forbade people from going out after eleven o'clock at night? But I didn't care: it was as if I had a special pass in the pocket of my sheepskin jacket, which exempted me from police checks.

It was the same black colouring and the same breed as the one that had been hit by a car in my childhood. I walked up the avenue on the right-hand side. At first, the dog stayed about ten metres behind me and then gradually it came closer. By the time we reached the railings of the Galliera Gardens, we were walking side by side. I don't know where I'd read—perhaps in a footnote in The Wonders of the Heavens —that at certain hours of the night, you can slip into a parallel world: an empty apartment where the light wasn't switched off, even a small dead-end street.

It's where you find objects lost long ago: a lucky charm, a letter, an umbrella, a key, and cats, dogs, and horses that were lost over the course of your life.


I thought that dog was the one from Rue du Docteur-Kurzenne. It wore a red leather collar with a metal tag and, when I bent down, I saw a phone number engraved on it. With a collar, you'd think twice about taking it to the pound. In fact, in Paris Nocturne the narrator even does this himself, taking out a map and tracing his routes with red ink.

If ever there was a literary city tour waiting to happen…. Paris Nocturne was a very quick read for me an hour or so , but enjoyable all the same. You have to be careful…People like us end up getting lost. Nice review — I read Search Warrant this year. He certainly has a way of distilling a city into a sentence. Like Like. Like Liked by 1 person. There is so much being published at the moment, however, I may take a few years to catch up!

Paris Nocturne

It all sounds a bit passionless though. Max — Definitely a book for a quiet evening, and I suspect the deal with Modiano has less to do with being blown away by one book than with gradually being overcome by the cumulative weight of his light pieces. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account.