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Patrick Modiano recent awardee of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 deserves his place among the greats After one novel I m captivated What I love about him is his writing style It is uite similar to that of fellow Nobel laureates JM Coetzee and Ernest Hemingway Modiano writes in a compact reserved voice His style does not bombard you with loads of compound sentences nor drops on you a barrel full of adjectives unlike most accomplished writers of this generation In fact it might be described as simple However there s a lingering presence of something I can only call grace that envelops his writing It is a scent that I have always nown to come from delicious writing His sparse and direct prose coupled with his penchant for descripting places translate into something classic and captivating If Hemingway had a penchant for drink and food Modiano is infatuated with places streets hotels restaurants roads bridges buildings he creates descriptions that give one a mental map of some sort tracing the paths of his characters and introducing new places at every turn Also injected into his writing is this feeling of weightlessness as if one had the ability to disintegrate like some creature made of air You are engulfed in your reading experience you never realize how much time you have spent until you actually look at a clock I loved it There under the embankment trees I had the unpleasant sensation that I was dreaming I had already lived my life and was just a ghost hovering in the tepid air of a Saturday evening Why try to renew ties which had been broken and look for paths that had been blocked off long ago This novella called Missing Person is about an amnesiac searching for his identity This empty man named Guy Roland who had been living in the shadows as a private detective for eight years decided that he finally had it in him to search for his forgotten past Along the way he rediscovers old places meets old acuaintances and regains pieces of his broken memory Hutte for instance used to uote the case of a fellow he called the beach man This man had spent forty years of his life on beaches or by the sides of swimming pools chatting pleasantly with summer visitors and rich idlers He is to be seen in his bathing costume in the corners and backgrounds of thousands of holiday snaps among groups of happy people but no one new his name or why he was there And no one noticed when one day he vanished from the photographs I did not dare tell Hutte but I felt that the beach man was myself We all ask ourselves what is the purpose of my life why am I here We ask these uestions to bring some sense of order in this business. WINNER OF THE 2014 NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATUREWinner of the Prix GoncourtIn this strange elegant novel winner of France's premier literary prize Patrick Modiano portrays a man in pursuit of the identity he lost in the murky days of the Paris Occupation the black hole of French memoryFor ten years Guy Roland has lived without a past His current life and name were given to him by his recently retired boss Hutte who welcomed him a onetime client into his detective

F birth a telephone number in facts that can be established in an identity card we soon surmise however that identity is elusive May be as fleeting as the scent of a perfume sporadic snowflakes of the tears of a child The search takes us through a maze of disappearing footprints that only leave behind a long list of street names mostly Parisian streets It is as if the addresses had ept the singularities of the numerous personalities who have resided there and those streets and numbers become the personsSimilarly with photographs Are we they To what extent these silver printed images constitute our selves Have they appropriated our beingThe succession of incongruous personalities the unpredictable dialogues the unlikely but treasured cues confer to this novel a flavor of the absurd that Attracting Songbirds to Your Backyard kept me fascinated Indeed a point came when it seemed that congruity would violate the uncanny nature of the story and I felt dismay But no the baffling evocation continuedModiano s investigation of the nature of the self is perplexing and entails a deeper suspense than a common thriller The reflection on how we construe ourselves whether out of our recorded memories or through our imagination or from the echoes we perceive from the way others see us is admirably expanded in this beautiful novel Even if we close the book realizing that ultimately one is alone in this uest and that there may no end to itThe riddle is partly and wrongly given away in the title of the English translation I find Missing Person it too discernible and unsuitable to Modiano s ingenious writing and thinking The original title is the French translation of the street in Rome where Mondiano used to live Via delle botteghe oscure He must have felt that he had left part of his identity there THIS AUTHOR IS THE WINNER OF THE 2014 NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE I am nothingNothing but a pale shape silhouetted that evening against the cafe terrace waiting for the rain to stop Guy Roland does notnow who he is His past has vanished behind a curtain of amnesia His made up name is not a source of identity but merely a convenience for others to refer to him For ten years he has worked for a private investigator named Hutte When his boss retires and moves to the city of Nice Guy decides that maybe it is time to investigate his own past I ve nown several people who were adopted and most of them have urgently researched their past searching for any clues to the original egg and sperm donor to their existence Even though their parents have provided everything they could ever want in terms of love and care they still feel like something has been lost They feel that tho. Repressed experienceOn one level Missing Person is a detective thriller a 1950s film noir mix of smoky cafés illegal passports and insubstantial figures crossing bridges in the fog On another level it is also a haunting meditation on the nature of the self Modiano's sparce hypnotic prose superbly translated by Daniel Weissbort draws his readers into the intoxication of a rare literary experience Librarian's note See an alternate cover edition for this ISBN he.

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Of living We are looking for direction a future We are looking for a map to tell us which road to travel on which path to take Not a bad plan for life But in order to be able to now what one is to do don t you think that one needs to Notes for the Everlost know oneself How is a traveler supposed to travel if he does not evennow that he is a traveler in the first place You were right to tell me that in life it is not the future which counts but the past Identity is built upon one thing the past We become who we are through the accumulation of memories and experiences The only thing we really build in life is our identity Yes the future gives us some sense of trajectory of purpose but then it is the past that controls the future You were therefore you are A little girl is returning from the beach at dusk with her mother She is crying for no reason at all because she would have liked to continue playing She moves off into the distance She has already turned the corner of the street and do not our lives dissolve into the evening as uickly as this grief of childhood At once a mystery but then also a journey into memory and time Missing Person will leave you breathless This novel about the self tells us that oftentimes we are too busy looking for our identity in the past asking too many uestions about our purpose in the future that the result is a life of asking and searching instead of one of living Life need not be so complicated Looking forward and backward is inevitable you cannot stop doing that but never ever fail to focus on the now Until now everything has seemed so chaotic so fragmented scraps shreds have come to light as a result of my searches but then that is perhaps what a life amounts to Hutte was always saying that in the end we are all beach men and that the sand I am uoting his own words When I Moan (Vassi and Seri 1: Russian Stepbrother Romance) keeps the traces of our footsteps only a few moments Whether you look at the past the present the future only one thing is certain life is ephemeral Make it count Scraps shreds have come to light as a result of my searchesBut then that is perhaps what a life amounts to It seems fi Here I am writing from behind my proxy protecting my identityBut whonows whether I do have one What if I were a multitude or a composite of anonymous voices Or what if my self was nothing but an entanglement of separate lifelines Could my identity be a broken prism of distorting mirrorsEngrossed in this magnificent novel I certainly would forget myselfUnder the guise of a detective story with a noir tint Modiano has span an investigation into the nature of identity that is as beguiling as a lyrical song Seemingly residing in a name a nationality a year Gency Guy makes full use of Hutte's files – directories yearbooks and papers of all inds going back half a century – but his leads are few Could he really be the person in that photograph a young man remembered by some as a South American attaché Or was he someone else perhaps the disappeared scion of a prominent local family He interviews strangers and is tantalized by half clues until at last he grasps a thread that leads him through the maze of his own.

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