Catherine Certitude by Patrick Modiano

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This charming book will delight any child or adult who appreciates ballet, Paris, New York, childhood, and mystery (not necessarily in that order). The book's plot is deceptively simple: Catherine, the eponymous heroine, begins her story watching her own daughter demonstrate jazz steps in their ballet school on a snowy afternoon in New York. Memory takes her (and the reader) back to her childhood, spent in the tenth arrondissement of Paris. In her youth, Catherine lives with her gentle father, Georges Certitude, who runs a shipping business with his partner, a loud, failed poet named Casterade. The real partners in this story, however, are the father and daughter who share the simple pleasures of daily life: sitting in the church square, walking to school, going to her ballet class every Thursday afternoon.

Behind this gossamer storyline, Catherine Certitude is filled with mystery. Why did Georges change his name to Certitude? What kind of trouble with the law did Casterade rescue him from? Exactly what does Georges do, and what kind of deals is he always discussing with men in worn raincoats? Why did Catherine's mother, herself a ballerina, leave Georges to return to New York? That these mysteries remain mysteries is part of the book's charm. But that Catherine and her father love the ballet, music, and City of Lights, is certain.

About Patrick Modiano

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Patrick Modiano is one of the most celebrated French novelists of his generation. He has collaborated with Louis Malle on the film "Lacombe Lucien" and has written over fifteen novels. Jean-Jacques Sempe is the author of Displays of Affection. His drawings have appeared in numerous books in France--with the sales of over 1 million copies. His work appears regularly on the cover of The New Yorker. Sempe is a jazz fanatic. William Rodarmor is an award-winning French literary translator and a former editor at PC World magazine. For the O'Reilly Designer Notebook series he translated Assembling Panoramic Photos, Creating Photomontages with Photoshop, and Illustrations with Photoshop. He lives in Berkeley, California.
Published January 20, 2015 by David R Godine. 64 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Children's Books. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Catherine Certitude

Publishers Weekly

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In this novella, ensconced in a roomy picture-book format with feather-light illustrations, a dancer reminisces on her childhood in the 10th arrondissement in Pa

Aug 27 2001 | Read Full Review of Catherine Certitude

Publishers Weekly

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She recalls her American mother's letters from the States ("Sometimes Mama made spelling mistakes"), her ballet lessons with a tragic woman who feigns a Russian accent and her father's humiliation at a society party where he pathetically pretends to be rich ("His brown suit clashed with everyone ...

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Dec 15 2001 | Read Full Review of Catherine Certitude

The Bookbag

Character comes across well – from a hoity-toity older man that shares the office and duties with the father, and his poetry with anyone who will listen, to the girl and dad meanwhile sharing a charming trait of taking their glasses off, and appreciating the world it leaves them in – a world not ...

Jan 28 2015 | Read Full Review of Catherine Certitude

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