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Modiano, Patrick

Patrick Modiano (Jean Patrick Modiano) (zhäN pätrēk´ mōdyänō´), 1945–, French novelist. He has been acclaimed for his treatment of memory, loss, and the puzzle of identity in novels that frequently recreate the lives of ordinary Parisians during the Nazi occupation in World War II. Modiano came to critical attention with his first novel, La Place de l'Etoile (1968); since then he has written more than two dozen novels. Widely read in France, he is perhaps best known in English-speaking countries for the screenplay he cowrote with Louis Malle for the film Lacombe Lucien (1974; Academy Award, best foreign film), the story of a young man torn between loyalty to the Nazi occupiers with whom he is collaborating and his love for a local Jewish girl. Modiano's most famous works include Rue des boutiques obscures (1978, tr. Missing Person, 1980), which tells of an amnesiac's attempt to assemble the components of his identity, and Dora Bruder (1997, tr. 1999), an investigation into the disappearance of a teenage Jewish girl in 1941. Among his other novels in English translation are Les boulevards de ceinture (1972, tr. Ring Roads, 1974), Voyage de noces (1990, tr. Honeymoon, 1992), and Du plus loin de l'oubli (1995, tr. Out of the Dark, 1998). Three of his semi-autobiographical novellas were included in the volume Suspended Sentences (1988–93, tr. 2014), each about memory and set in 1950s and 60s Paris. He also has written other screenplays, e.g., Bon Voyage (2003), and children's books, e.g., Catherine Certitude (1988, tr. 2000). In 2014 Modiano was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

See studies by A. Morris (1996), M. Guyot-Bender and W. VanderWolk, ed. (1998), and A. Kawakami (2000).

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