Shelves: in-translation , french Patrick Modianos Night Watch originally published in English as Night Rounds is a short novel that yanks the reader in to the grubby underworld of Occupied Paris during WWII, and then holds you there, caught between gritty chaos and the fuzzed edges of memory. The narrator is a young man who, claiming to hold no moral convictions, has been drawn into the world of profiteers and the French Gestapo. He is sent to infiltrate the resistance, who may suspect his double crossing ways. Embedded in both camps, his loyalties are conflicted and — although we know from the beginning that he will betray the French cause — he must decide whether or not to stand up to his malevolent employers.
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His father, Albert Modiano —77, born in Paris , was of Jewish-Italian origin;  on his paternal side he was descended from the well known Italo-Jewish Modiano family of Thessaloniki , Greece.
Albert Modiano never clearly spoke of this period to his son before his death in He was initially brought up by his maternal grandparents who taught him Flemish as his first language. In , he enrolled at the Sorbonne in order to get a college deferment to draft, but did not get any degree.
Marriage and family[ edit ] In , Modiano married Dominique Zehrfuss. In a interview with Elle , she said: "I have a catastrophic memory of the day of our marriage. It rained. A real nightmare. Our groomsmen were Queneau , who had mentored Patrick since his adolescence, and Malraux , a friend of my father.
They started to argue about Dubuffet , and it was like we were watching a tennis match! That said, it would have been funny to have some photos, but the only person who had a camera forgot to bring the film. There is only one photo remaining of us, from behind and under an umbrella!
The novel displeased his father so much that he tried to buy all existing copies of the book. Earlier while stranded in London, Modiano had called his father to request a little financial assistance, but his father had rebuffed him. Obsessed with the troubled and shameful period of the Occupation —during which his father had allegedly engaged in shady dealings—Modiano returns to this theme in all of his novels, book after book building a remarkably homogeneous work.
In the end, we are all determined by the place and the time in which we were born. The novel addresses the never-ending search for identity in a world where "the sand holds the traces of our footsteps but a few moments. Fifteen years after their breakup, they meet again, but she has changed her name and initially denies their past. Dora Bruder is a literary hybrid, fusing together several genres — biography, autobiography, detective novel — to tell the history of its title character, a year-old daughter of Eastern European Jewish immigrants, who, after running away from the safety of the convent that was hiding her, ends up being deported to Auschwitz.
Prompted by his own passion for the past, Modiano went to the listed address, and from there began his investigation, his search for memories. Regarding Dora Bruder, he wrote: "I shall never know how she spent her days, where she hid, in whose company she passed the winter months of her first escape, or the few weeks of spring when she escaped for the second time. That is her secret. Even though there are plenty of geographical details, the reader is left with a sense of vagueness as to what happened and when.
In the third of five chapters, the protagonist herself relates episodes from her life, but she remains difficult to grasp. The author creates a number of instabilities on various levels of his text and this signifies how literary figures can not be created.
The protagonist evades being grasped. Among them is the enigmatic Margaret Le Coz, a young woman whom he met and fell in love with in the s. The two loners spent several weeks wandering the winding streets of a now long-forgotten Paris, fleeing a phantom menace. Forty years later, he is ready to look for his vanished love. But if you look at it right, you can still spot ancient wastelands beneath the concrete.
These are the very roots of my generation. His latest work is the novel Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier Called the "Marcel Proust of our time",  he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature "for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the Occupation ".
Press, Un cirque passe ; English translation: After the Circus trans. English trans.
La ronde de nuit
La ronde de nuit, de Patrick Modiano
La Ronde de nuit
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