Join Librarian Alisa on August 17 at 3 pm as she discusses three works by Nobel prize winner Patrick Modiano. Please note: This program will be presented in French.
Of all the writers whose work belongs to the postmodern canon, Patrick Modiano is likely to be the most ill at ease in that category. His simple yet refined prose gives the appearance of being traditional and straightforward. It is, however, the precise feeling of unease that places Modiano’s work in the realm of postmodern literature, in which disorder and uncertainty reign supreme. Even identity fails to hold out: its destabilisation reflects on an individual level what is happening on a larger scale.
In Rue des boutiques obscures, Quartier Perdu, and Voyage de noces, the quest for identity is paralleled by an improvised criminal investigation. Modiano’s use of detective fiction is typical of postmodernism: he takes a quintessentially closed genre, borrows its conventions and clichés, and finishes by leaving it open ended. In the novels chosen for this talk, three detectives go on a search for three missing persons: themselves. They revisit the past in an attempt to make sense of their lives and to find a basis on which to build their identity. Their journeys, as well as the conclusions they draw from them, are an exploration of the elements of the “anti-detective novel”.
The talk will be given in French. It is not required to have previously read the novels in question. All fans of Modiano’s work, regardless of which language they speak, are invited to listen and offer their own thoughts on his novels.