Patrick Modiano is his own genre

Caad0045-5f06-4c4a-a8c3-12c425cd3222Anne-Sylvaine Chassany at the Financial Times:

It is his ability to “create a world” that makes his work unique, says Marion Van Renterghem, a journalist at Le Monde who knows him well. “Each book is a piece of this world, like ancient translucent parchments that deliver secret messages when you superimpose them,” she says. The streets of Paris are described in minute detail and with evident love. His characters are searching for answers, like the author himself.

Mr Modiano’s writings, which include 29 books and several screenplays and songs, have been largely inspired by the German occupation of Paris. It was during this dark period that his parents, a shadowy Jewish businessman and a Belgian actress from Anvers, first crossed paths. The father of two – and besotted grandfather – reports being troubled by the thought that his parents would never have met had it not been for the horrors of the European midcentury.

“It is bizarre to think that I was born after a catastrophe, born among ruins,” he has said. His disquiet resonated with France’s baby boom generation, as they gradually came to understand the part that their parents had played in the Holocaust.

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