The Other Part of the Reason…

Why I’ve been quiet, is to be found here at the wonderful Numero Cinq.

I’ve been writing about one of my favourite French authors, Patrick Modiano, whose name may be familiar to you after his unexpected win of the Nobel Prize for literature.

patrick modiano for numero cinq

His novels are almost ridiculously accessible – very simple and elegant language, very simple plots in which the main protagonist seeks the answers to some ongoing enigma, often concerning his own past, and yet immense psychological depth. He became famous in France for writing about the period of the Occupation, just at a time when the French were beginning to realise that their own history was much darker and more complex than was comfortable. I think he’s an amazing writer, and well worth your time. Lots of his novels are coming out in translation now, thanks to the Nobel, but my suggestion would be you start with either Missing Person or Honeymoon. And do let me know how you get on.


12 thoughts on “The Other Part of the Reason…

    • I’m really glad you enjoyed them, but those early novels are mostly quite unlike Modiano’s work. The last one, Ring Roads, starts to sound a lot more like him. The first is really hard work! (Happily he never wrote like that again.) If you read him again, do try something like Honeymoon, which is a really good one, and no references at all! 🙂

  1. Looks impressive. I’ve bookmarked this to read when I have more time. But in the meantime I checked out NC magazine. I was expecting an austere literary magazine but it’s not at all. Yes, literary and a “serious” magazine but not serious in the off-putting sense. It’s playful and I don’t feel that I need a Master’s or PhD in Literature to be able to appreciate the content. 😉

      • I really enjoyed your excellent article on Modiano and you’ve got me thinking about elusive narrators, fugitives, the traces of ourselves, psycho-geography, and the intersections of the personal, the psychological and the political. I had no idea for a start that the French resistance was such an area of controversy. Of course now I will have to go and read Modiano for myself. Reading this essay reminded me of the multi-layered understanding and depth which you bring to your reviews. I hope you will include Modiano in your book on crisis and creativity.

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