I’ve never read a proper Modiano book before, only some excerpts in French classes. And I understand that it’s not exactly a typical book of his. But I did thoroughly like it! Such a lovely collection of brief memories spread throughout the body of the city. Now I want to read some of his more typical work.
I’ve read Annie Ernaux, Yasmina Reza and Modiano in the last few months, after a rather extensive period of time without Francophone literature, and I can’t shake the feeling that I prefer it so much to English-language contemporary giants. It’s just more effortless, more inspired, less labored. The anglophone narratives, be they plot-driven or abstract, rarely have such breathlessness. Perhaps it’s just me, as a product of too many workshops, but I feel like only when books like this appear is the literature really free and breathing.
Sleep of Memory by Patrick Modiano
Translated from French by Mark Polizzotti
Published by Yale University Press in 2018