story by Patrick Modiano
pictures by Jean-Jacques Sempé
translated by William Rodarmor
August 24, 2004.
David R. Godine, Publisher, Boston, 2001. First published in France
in 1988. 61 pages.
Thanks to my friend Erin MacLellan (author of Run From the Nun
for recommending this book to me. We met at a writers’ conference
in Paris, so it doesn’t surprise me that this book about a childhood in
Paris would be special to her.
is told in picture book format, but
it’s a story for older readers. It’s a simple story of remembering
a girl’s childhood with her father in the 10th arrondissement of Paris.
“Sometimes Papa would say, ‘Come here, Catherine,’ and I would join him
on the scale. We would stand there, the two of us, Papa’s hand on my
shoulders, without moving. We looked as if we were posing for a photograph.
I took off my glasses, and Papa took off his. Everything around us
became soft and fuzzy. Time stopped. We felt fine.”
Catherine’s Papa’s business partner, Mister Casterade, doesn’t understand
their approach to life. Sometimes they would take off their glasses
to avoid seeing him.
This is an example of the sort of gentle plot found in this book.
Catherine and her father enjoy life, and find ways of getting around efforts
to make them be fussier.
This lovely little book will make you smile and perhaps look at life
with a softer focus.
Copyright © 2004 Sondra Eklund. All
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