So you don’t get lost in the neighbourhood by Patrick Modiano (Maclehose)

modiano neighbourhood

“Almost nothing. Like an insect bite that initially strikes you as very slight. At least that is what you tell yourself in a low voice so as to reassure yourself.”

THE perfect novel, I might speculate, would be 155 pages long with plenty of white space, say 230 words a page or 35,000 words in total,  enough for some central characters and a cast. For example the length of a Maigret story or an Agatha Christie murder. You can have bigger but essentially you would be bolting on a second module. Concision is a benefit.

Take this by way of an example of brevity:

“The notes retraced her career path. Arrival in Paris when very young from provincial France. Job in a nightclub in rue de Ponthieu. Room in a hotel in the Odeon district. She goes around with students from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. List of people questioned and whom she may have met in the night club, list of students at the Beaux-Arts. Body found in a hotel bedroom, 15 th arrondissement”.

Around this Modiano weaves a mystery of supreme paranoia, a victim (who?) as he says in his opening line of an insect bite…an infection. The street geography and the aspen tree outside of Daragane’s window frame a tale of mind games. The past is unpacked like some valuable box of antiques.

Beautifully polished, beguiling, leading not to trite Hawaii 50 style of ending, but a riddle.

See also here. This translation is by Euan Cameron.


About drewsmith28

Words, words, words...
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1 Response to So you don’t get lost in the neighbourhood by Patrick Modiano (Maclehose)

  1. silvia langford says:

    intriguing. Assume this is a translation but from which language?

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