“You were right to tell me that in life, it is not the future which counts, but the past.”

ModianoWhat kind of person believes that the past is more important than the future? Wouldn’t the least likely be someone with amnesia? The central character in this novel by Nobel Prize-winner Patrick Modiano is a Parisian who has no memory of his life before the second world war. It appears that a trauma erased his recollection of his first twenty or thirty years. This novel describes his attempts to learn his identity, which he discovers in fragments, flashbacks and disconnected traces. Modiano has a “haunted, pared-down style – blending geographical precision with emotional ambiguity.” He raises more questions than he answers.

Patrick Modiano, Missing Person (Boston: David R. Godine, Publisher, 2005, first published in French in 1978 under the title Rue des Boutiques Obscures), p. 118

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