The Found Man: Patrick Modiano wins The Nobel Prize for Literature 2014

on Friday, October 10, 2014
Well, that was unexpected. Following the usual predictive malarky that yearly pits Haruki Murakami against Adonis and, for the really hopeful, Phillip Roth, the Nobel Committee has thrown us one from left field by awarding the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature to French writer Patrick Modiano. I don't think he was even on the betting radar. That said, far from being one of the annoyingly obscure or, worse, token laureates, Modiano is quite the deserving recipient. I've only read a couple of his books (I think only four or five exist in English translation, of which maybe two or three are in print) but they were both excellent - intriguing, challenging, deep but strangely accessible. Like the Academy, I'd go for Missing Person as a starting point. It's a slim but weighty novel in which an amnesiac goes in search of the identity he lost during the war. Modiano really grapples with ideas of identity, guilt, complicity and the like in a way very have done before or since. I'd also recommend Search Warrant/Dora Bruder (same book, published under two titles) which is widely regarded as his masterpiece. A fascinating study into the fate of a missing girl deported to Auschwitz that was triggered by a missing person notice in a wartime magazine, it digs deeply into the soul of Occupied France and, more importantly, Modiano himself.

Guess it's back to the drawing board for the punters amongst you. Here's hoping your favourite lives to go another round!


Post a Comment