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About the Author: Patrick Modiano

Patrick Modiano is a French language novelist and winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature.

He is a winner of the Grand prix du roman de l'Académie française in 1972, the Prix Goncourt in 1978 for his novel Rue des boutiques obscures and of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2014.

Modiano's parents met in occupied Paris during World War II and began their relationship in semi-clandestinity. Modiano's childhood took place in a unique atmosphere: between the absence of his father -- of which he heard many troubled stories -- and his mother's frequent tours, he had to complete his secondary education by government aid. This brought him closer to his brother, Rudy, who died of a disease at age 10 (the works of Patrick Modiano from 1967 to 1982 are dedicated to him). This disappearance announced the end of the author's childhood, who continued to hold a marked nostalgia for this period.

Modiano studied at the École du Montcel primary school in Jouy-en-Josas, at the Collège Saint-Joseph de Thônes in Haute-Savoie, and then at the Lycée Henri-IV high school in Paris. While he was at Henri-IV, he took geometry lessons from writer Raymond Queneau, who was a friend of Modiano's mother. He received his baccalaureate at Annecy but didn't proceed with his higher education.

His meeting with Queneau, the author of Zazie dans le métro, is crucial. Modiano was introduced to the literary world by Queneau, and this gave him the opportunity to attend a cocktail party given by publishing house Éditions Gallimard. He published his first novel, La Place de l’Étoile, with them in 1968, after having read the manuscript to Raymond Queneau. Starting that year, he did nothing but write.

On September 12, 1970, Modiano married Dominique Zerhfuss. "I have a catastrophic souvenir 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!" (Interview with Elle, 6 October 2003). From their marriage came two girls, Zina (1974) and Marie (1978).

Modiano has mentioned on Oct 9, 2014, during an interview with La Grande Librairie, that one of the books which had a great impact on his writing life was 'Le cœur est un chasseur solitaire' (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter), the first novel published by Carson McCullers in 1940.

(Arabic: باتريك موديانو)


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La Place de L'Etoile - The Night Watch - Ring Roads by

Goodreads rating: 3.44

Paperback, Published in Sep 2015 by Bloomsbury USA

ISBN10: 1632863723 | ISBN13: 9781632863720

Page count: 352

When Patrick Modiano was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature he was praised for using the 'art of memory' to bring to life the Occupation of Paris during the Second World War. Born just after the war, Modiano was an angry young man in his twenties when these three brilliant, angry novels burst onto the Parisian literary scene and caused a storm.

The epigraph to his ambitious first novel, among the first to seriously question both wartime collaboration in France and the myths of the Gaullist era, reads: 'In June 1942 a German officer goes up to a young man and says: 'Excuse me, monsieur, where is La Place de l'Étoile?' The young man points to the star on his chest.' The Night Watch tells the story of a young man, caught between his work for the French Gestapo, his work for a Resistance cell informing on the police and the black market dealers whose seedy milieu he shares. Ring Roads recounts Serge's search for his father, who disappeared from his life ten years earlier. He finds him trying to survive the war years in the unlikely company of spivs, anti-Semites and prostitutes, putting his meagre business skills at the service of those who have no interest in him or his survival.

These brilliant, almost hallucinatory evocations of the Occupation, attempt to exorcise the past by exploring the morally ambiguous worlds of collaboration and resistance.

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