The world of Patrick Modiano is one of loss and displacement. So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighborhood (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24) explores these themes in a slim 155 pages—taking us into the jogged memory of Daragane, a loner and life-long resident of Paris. The novel begins with a telephone call. Gilles Ottolini has recovered Daragane’s misplaced address book, in which he notices a name that also appears in Daragane’s first novel. But Daragane cannot remember the name, or his first novel. When he reads a densely-written dossier compiled by Ottolini, however, he discovers the murder of a distant acquaintance, and becomes immersed in long forgotten memories.  As Daragane reads, he finds himself skipping sentences, enacting the selective and seemingly random way memory works. While this masterful novel has the lightness of a dream, it is deeply affecting, as vivid dreams often are.  Focusing on abandonment—abandonment by one’s memory and the abandonment of loved ones—the book leads to a stunning and painful climax that calls into question the nature of identity itself.

So You Don't Get Lost in the Neighborhood Cover Image
By Patrick Modiano, Euan Cameron (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780544635067
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - September 15th, 2015

So You Don't Get Lost in the Neighborhood Cover Image
By Patrick Modiano, Euan Cameron (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780544811867
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - September 20th, 2016

If you’re interested in getting a taste of Knausgaard but don’t fancy committing to 3,600 pages, Boyhood is the perfect choice. It’s the most lyrical of the volumes thus far and easily stands alone. The descriptions of Norwegian childhood and of Karl Ove’s visits to his grandparents in the fiords are nothing short of transporting. Reading this novel is the closest I have ever been to becoming someone else. How does Knausgaard do it! You will also find some gut-wrenching backstory here, about his relationship to his father, which inspired this stunning multi-volume contemporary classic.

My Struggle: Book 3 Cover Image
By Karl Ove Knausgaard, Don Bartlett (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780374534165
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - April 28th, 2015

This novel is one of my all-time favorites. An Austrian cavalry officer makes a faut pas at a party by inviting a crippled girl to dance. Trying to make amends, he gets involved in her family. Then he can’t extract himself. Set before World War I, the story demonstrates how bad judgment and the inability to make firm decisions changes the course of a life. The unwieldy nature of this book is part of its charm. Wes Anderson gave Zweig the nod in Grand Budapest Hotel. It’s an unsung classic, which will utterly capture your heart.

Beware of Pity Cover Image
By Stefan Zweig, Joan Acocella (Introduction by), Phyllis Blewitt (Translated by), Trevor Blewitt (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781590172001
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: NYRB Classics - June 20th, 2006