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What was I doing, at the age of eighteen, on the shore of that lake, in that fashionable spa resort? Nothing.

At the outbreak of the Algerian war, a young man who calls himself Victor Chmara flees Paris for a small lakeside town on the border of France and Switzerland.

It’s here that he meets the flamboyant doctor René Meinthe and the mysterious auburn-haired Yvonne. Victor quickly embraces their world of pageants, soirées and late-night debauchery, and settles into an endless summer with Yvonne.

But René and Yvonne’s lives are also full of unanswered questions and half-truths. As he looks back years later, Victor remains beguiled by those lost, unknowable friends and the enchanted place he chose to leave behind.

One of Modiano’s most elegiac and haunting novels, Villa Triste is an intoxicating investigation into time, place, identity, and memory.

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