Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123
Results 41 to 47 of 47

Thread: Patrick Modiano

  1. #41
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Posts
    1,668

    Default Re: Patrick Modiano

    For those interested in learning more about Patrick Modiano, here's a dedicated blog:

    Le Réseau Modiano

    lereseaumodiano.blogspot.com


    Most of the articles are in French. However, when you go to the specific books entries you'll find some reviews in English.

    This is great stuff :-)

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    500

    Default Re: Patrick Modiano

    Just finished Dora Bruder (for anyone still trying to find some Modiano books, this is finally up on the kindle store). A moving meditation on his usual themes, using a search through archives to discover the fate of a teenage girl as a vehicle. It's one of his more famous books, but I wouldn't recommend someone start there. The plot's a bit fractured, and as is typical Modiano, he intersperses the "narrative" with his own anecdotes about wandering around Paris (another reason for this not to be the first Modiano book: a lot of his personal stories don't make as much sense if you don't have the context his other work provides), narrative in quotations because it's more just the author presenting the facts than anything else. "Here's what this small note tells us, here's what we can imagine based on it, here's a memory of myself walking down this street that Dora once walked down..." It can be a bit dry.

    I once heard someone call Modiano a narcissist for daring to compare his life to Dora's, but that's the point, something that can be missed if one hasn't read his other works: here he is, a jew, living an easy life in Paris, compared to a nightmare just a few decades before. His own anecdotes also help color his obsession with the past and memory: often times he'll bring up a recollection, just to end it where his snapshot of the past stops. The changing Parisian architecture he talks about during his walks further highlights the whole forgetting, highlights time wiping away the past.

    The subject matter is also incredibly powerful, yet it is more the subject itself rather than Modiano's take on it that lends this slim book its weight. I still want to read Missing Person and will probably pick up a few more of his books from a library when he's more available, but I doubt my opinion will change much of him after this (4 novellas). He's not a literary giant, and not a must read for me, but he's certainly a worthwhile author that many should give a try.

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Rhode Island
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: Patrick Modiano

    I was idling at a bookstore today and picked up an English version of "Missing Person". While waiting I also leafed through a copy of "Honeymoon."

    While of course it is too early for me to have an opinion, I must say I am surprised by the Proust comparisons I've been seeing in some places, like the New York Times. From the few pages I've had the chance to read so far, I didn't really see any strong stylistic or thematic parallels with what you would get from Proust. I think the Kenzaburo Oe comparison someone made in this thread is more apt. Anyway, I am looking forward to reading it, though not sure when that will happen, as I still need to finish "1Q84", with Pynchon on deck.

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    Posts
    1,668

    Default Re: Patrick Modiano

    The previous short novels by Patrick Modiano that I recently read and briefly commented above left a very good impression on me and made me want to keep on reading this wonderful author. But these novels are mere appetizers for Rue des Boutiques Obscures (Missing Person in the English version). Published in 1978, it was Modiano’s sixth novel and it deservedly won the prestigious Prix Goncourt. Maybe it’s the much commented cumulative effect needed for better appreciating his work, but this time Monsieur Modiano blew me away! The novel tells the story of one Guy Roland, a private investigator who has been suffering from amnesia for a long time and who with the help of his retiring boss tries to investigate his own past. Roland knows nothing for sure about himself, not even his true name. So he starts off with some loose connections, people who don’t recognize him but lead him to other vanishing witnesses of the times when he was young, who present him with old photographs, telephone numbers, addresses, passport forms, all kinds of frustratingly weak clues and red herrings. In his quest Roland travels, now or in his mind’s past, to many places (not just within Paris as in most of Modiano’s novels) and brings back to life memories of people he may have met in his youth, including the woman who may have been the love of his life. The narration takes place in the 70s but the story goes back to occupation time in the early 40s. Little by little brief, foggy flashes of his would-be past help him disentangle the puzzle of his own existence. Or not really? Is Roland really discovering who he really is or is the narrator just gliding into someone else’s life? What’s the purpose of remembering a life not lived? Everything is ambiguous in Modiano’s novel, beautifully written with economy of resources and a masterly control of suspense. The style and structure could be likened to the best American noir novels but the atmosphere is definitely impressionistic. There are some passages were the prose reaches great lyrical beauty. It’s as if Chandler met Proust and wrote something together. One reviewer I read said that in Rue des Boutiques Obscures you could see “the intrusion of wandering souls into a detective novel”. As in most of Modiano’s work there’s a high dose of auto-fiction but he’s very clever disguising it. To judge by the few novels I’ve read I think Patrick Modiano is a worthy recipient of the Nobel Prize and this extraordinary novel alone demonstrates his greatness. There are very few writers who are able to create a trademark with their writing; I beleive Modiano is one such writer. I also believe hiswork will be very much alive over time. Now I’m off to reading Dora Bruder…..

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    500

    Default Re: Patrick Modiano

    I posted a similar thing in the Nobel prize thread, but I thought I'd post it here too since this one is more active and I want to help any readers of Modiano. When I finished Dora Bruder, I was a bit disappointed. It seemed dry reportage, at times the prose being newspaper-like, and it's not exactly gripping. These past few days, though, I've found myself thinking about the similarities between Dora and the novellas in Suspended Sentences, thematically, plot wise, at times even the language he uses, and I've realize, just reading a lot of Modiano is not enough to like him. Imagine Modiano is writing one giant novel, with each of his works being a chapter in it, except you don't read these chapters all at once and you don't read them chronologically, either. In order to get the most out of it, you have to do the work yourself and spot the parallels on your own. And, in the context of Modiano's work, Dora Bruder does take on a special place, and I think even the reporter language lends itself to the book when placed alongside his other stuff.

  6. #46

    Default Re: Patrick Modiano

    I decided to give Modiano another try after the disappointment that was Fleurs de Ruine. Crossing my fingers that In the Cafe of lost Youth doesn't turn out to be yet another100 pages of detailed descriptions of Paris.

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Patrick Modiano

    Quote Originally Posted by kadare View Post
    I decided to give Modiano another try after the disappointment that was Fleurs de Ruine. Crossing my fingers that In the Cafe of lost Youth doesn't turn out to be yet another100 pages of detailed descriptions of Paris.
    Heads up, that's basically all of his novels. Aside from a few outlying works he's a formulaic writer who essentially writes slight variations on the same thing for every single novel. The more of his work you read the more you'll enjoy it and pick up on why he's as highly regarded as he is, but if you're expecting something vastly different you're not going to find it there. Granted, I haven't read In the Cafe of lost Youth yet but having read 10 of his novels it looks like a sure bet that it'll be more of the same. Even amongst his formulaic novels there's hits and misses. He uses the same elements in each novel so the quality of them (to me at least) depends on how he arranges and utilizes these similar elements.

    If you really want something that's completely different from his ambient, moody novels about Paris, try his first two novels. They're part of a trilogy known as The Occupation Trilogy, as the three novels all focus on the occupation of France during the Second World War and how it affected the novels' Jewish protagonists. They're written in a completely different style than nearly any of his other output and they're much denser and more complex. They're highly satirical and feature many references to both French literature and French history. The third novel in this trilogy is essentially where he starts writing the style he's become known for, but the first two are much different.

    I wouldn't necessarily say I enjoyed this trilogy more than his usual output, but it's definitely different than 100-200 pages of descriptions of Paris.

Similar Threads

  1. Patrick White
    By liehtzu in forum Writers
    Replies: 44
    Last Post: 31-Dec-2012, 18:04
  2. Patrick Modiano: Un Pedigree
    By Daniel del Real in forum European Literature
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 31-Jan-2012, 21:29
  3. Patrick Süskind
    By learna in forum Writers
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 17-Dec-2009, 14:19

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •