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Patrick Modiano Wins Nobel in Literature
Oct 10, 2014

Patrick Modiano of France, whose work focuses on the Nazi occupation and its effect on his country, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.  Jewishness, the Nazi occupation and loss of identity are recurrent themes in his novels, which include 1968’s “La Place de l’Etoile” later hailed in Germany as a key Post—Holocaust work. The Nazi occupation of France has provided the material for a large part of Modiano's literary work. 

Apart from a long series of books, in the early 1970s, Modiano co-wrote the screenplay for Lacombe Lucien, a movie directed by Louis Malle focusing on French collaboration with the Nazis. 

Patrick Modiano is a chronicler of Paris life under the Nazi occupation, whose brooding works are haunted by the memory of his own loveless childhood. One of France's most celebrated writers, Modiano was praised by the Nobel committee as a modern-day Marcel Proust. 

In 1967, his first novel La place de l'etoile (The Star's Place), was a direct reference to the shame inflicted on the Jews. The book follows a narrator named Raphael on a hallucinatory journey taking in a range of historical and fictional Jewish characters. 

Modiano's recreations of wartime Paris are stuffed with meticulous detail—street names, cafes, metro stations and real-life events at that time—earning him the moniker of literary archaeologist.

In 1972, Modiano was awarded the French Academy's Grand Prize for his novel Ring Roads, and the prestigious Goncourt Prize in 1978 for Missing Person.  In 1996, he won the National Literature Grand Prize for his entire work. 

His popular later works include Dora Bruder (1997-also known in English as The Search Warrant), Un Pedigree (2005), and Dans le cafe de la jeunesse perdue (2007-In the Cafe of Lost Youth), which tells the story of a young woman, Louki, from several points of view including that of a detective and a lover.  His latest novel, Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier (So you don't get lost in the neighbourhood) appeared in French recently. 


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