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In , he enrolled at the Sorbonne in order to get a college deferment to draft, but did not get any degree. In , Modiano married Dominique Zehrfuss.

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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!


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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. Another time , his mother sent Patrick to the father's apartment to demand a tardy child-support payment, and in response the father's girlfriend called the police.

In , Modiano co-wrote the screenplay of Lacombe, Lucien , a film co-written and directed by Louis Malle ; it focuses on a boy joining the fascist Milice after being denied admission to the French Resistance. The film caused controversy due to the lack of justification of the main character's political involvement.

Modiano's novels all delve into the puzzle of identity, and of trying to track evidence of existence through the traces of the past. 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.


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All of Modiano's works are written from a place of "mania. 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.

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Two of postwar London's more notorious true-life characters, Peter Rachman and Emil Savundra , befriend the narrator. What is real and what is not remain to be seen in the dreamlike novel that typifies Modiano's obsessions and elegiac prose. The theme of memory is most clearly at play in Dora Bruder entitled The Search Warrant in some English-language translations. 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.

As Modiano explains in the opening of his novel, he first became interested in Dora's story when he came across her name in a missing persons headline in a December edition of the French newspaper Paris Soir. 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. In Modiano's 26th book, L'Horizon , the narrator, Jean Bosmans, a fragile man pursued by his mother's ghost, dwells on his youth and the people he has lost. Among them is the enigmatic Margaret Le Coz, a young woman whom he met and fell in love with in the s.

Remember to Forget: Patrick Modiano’s “Sleep of Memory” - Los Angeles Review of Books

The two loners spent several weeks wandering the winding streets of a now long-forgotten Paris, fleeing a phantom menace. One day, however, without notice, Margaret boarded a train and vanished into the void—but not from Jean's memory.


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