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Modiano, Patrick


MODIANO, PATRICK (1945– ), French writer. Modiano's first book, La Place de l'Etoile (1968), gained him immediate fame and recognition. It is the story of a young French Jew caught in the turmoil of the war years in occupied Paris. Though Modiano was born after World War ii, that period appears to fascinate him, and he goes back to it time and again in search of inspiration. Antisemitism and collaboration, black market and Resistance, spies and doubtful heroes: these are his most regular themes. His other works include La ronde de nuit ("Night Round," 1969), Les boulevards de ceinture ("Circle Line Boulevards," 1972). In Lacombe Lucien (1974), made into a successful film by Louis Malle, Modiano caused a furor by delving into the murky relationship between a young French Nazi and a Jewish girl. Memory becomes increasingly obsessive in his work, as shown in Villa triste ("Sad Villa," 1975), Livret de famille ("Family Record Book," 1977), and Rue des boutiques obscures ("Dark Shops Street"), in which an amnesiac detective is inextricably tied to the period of German Occupation. For the latter, Modiano was the winner of the 1978 Goncourt Prize. Also of note are Remise de peine ("Reduction," 1988), "Voyage de noce" ("Honeymoon Trip," 1990), and Dora Bruder (1997), in which Modiano tells of the last months of a young Jewish girl in Paris before being arrested and deported. His later works include Ephéméride ("Block Calendar," 2002), Accident nocturne ("Night Accident," 2003), and Un pedigree ("A Pedigree," 2005), in which Modiano evokes his conflictladen relationship with his father.

Modiano also wrote children's books. They include Catherine Certitude (1988) and 28 Paradis (2005), illustrated by his wife, Dominique Zehrfuss.

[Gideon Kouts /

Anny Dayan Rosenman (2nd ed.)]

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