So You Don't Get Lost in the Neighbourhood
By Patrick Modiano
A sinister encounter leads to a forensic investigation of a writer's past - by the 2014 Nobel Laureate
Jean Daragane, writer and recluse, has purposely built a life of seclusion away from the Parisian bustle. He doesn't see many people, he rarely goes out: he spends his life in a solitary world of his own making.
His peace is shattered however, one hot September afternoon, by a threatening phone call from a complete stranger, who claims to have found Daragane's old phone book and wants to question him about a particular name it contains. But when Daragane agrees to meet the mysterious Gilles Ottolini, he realises that - try as he might - he cannot place the name "Guy Torstel" at all. Yet Ottolini is desperate for any information on this man...
Finding himself suddenly entangled in the lives of Ottolini and his beautiful, but fragile young associate, Daragane is drawn into the mystery of a decades-old murder that will drag him out of his lonely apartment and force him to confront the memory of a long-suppressed personal trauma.
Imbued with nostalgia, subtlety, and its own unique poetry, this darkly mysterious novel weaves a spell that provokes as much as it entrances.
Patrick Modiano was born in Paris, France in 1945. He was the recipient of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature. He previously won the 2012 Austrian State Prize for European Literature, the 2010 Prix mondial Cino Del Duca from the Institut de France for lifetime achievement, the 1978 Prix Goncourt for Rue des boutiques obscures, and the 1972 Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française for Les Boulevards de ceinture.
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- Publication date:
03 Sep 2015
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This incessant quest, which Modiano might judge pointless, nevertheless produces - in the manner of Proust - one of the most obsessive and fascinating searches for lost time. — Jérome Garcin, Le Nouvel Observateur
Dream-like, solemn, utterly unique and impervious to aesthetic fashions, his work defies the passage of time. — Nathalie Crom, Télérama
A magnificent, haunting novel, whose spell lasts long after reading. — Vogue
A pure original ... you don't read Modiano for answers. You read each Modiano novel for its place in a giant sequence: a new restatement of a single unsolvable crime. — Adam Thirlwell, Guardian