Tuesday, October 14, 2014


In his writing career spanning almost 50 years, Mr. Modiano has shunned publicity and the media limelight, and like many of his works, has remained a mysterious character to his readers. This has led to the origin of the French term “modianesque”, used to describe a mysterious person or situation. In some of his interviews the writer has suggested that writing is not something that brings pleasure to him but is more of a burden from which he cannot set himself free. He compares it to driving in fog when one doesn’t know where one is going, but nevertheless one has to go on. Mr. Modiano’s work often deals with his Jewish origin and the period of Occupation. In a 2010 interview to France Today, Mr. Modiano said: “After each novel, I have the impression that I have cleared it all away … but I know I’ll come back over and over again to tiny details, little things that are a part of what I am. In the end, we are all determined by the place and the time in which we were born.” It is this quality that the Nobel Prize committee recognised, describing it as “the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation.” Unlike the detective Guy Roland in his best-known work, Missing Person, Mr. Modiano doesn’t have the luxury of losing his memory. But even if it had, he would always attempt to find it.
---Editorial in The Hindu

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