He recently won the Nobel Prize in Literature, yet Patrick Modiano is anything but a household name outside of France; indeed, not even half of his works have been published in English. This week Agave Magazine presents a few basics you should know about the 111th recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
The art of memory
The prize was given to Mr. Modiano in recognition of "the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation." Born in 1945 in Paris, his works revisit the themes of identity, memory, loss, and otherness through the Nazi occupation of France.
Short and sweet
Mr. Modiano's over 20 books often reach around 130 pages and are likely to be detective novels; he has also written for film and for children. Nevertheless, he has claimed to be, like many writers, "always writing the same book."
Permanent secretary of the Nobel Academy Peter Englund believes that Mr. Modiano's works are highly accessible: "He has a very refined, simple, straight, clear style ... but it is very, very sophisticated in that simplicity." So if you'd like to find out more about Patrick Modiano's writing, don't hesitate to dive in. Missing Person (Rue des boutiques obscures) is a good place to start. The story, about an amnesiac detective who must rediscover his own identity, won him France's renowned Prix Goncourt in 1978.
Have you read any of Patrick Modiano's works? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.