Patrick Modiano has ignored those critics who accuse him of writing the same book over and over again. His narrators and protagonists seem to be in a state of permanent adolescence, even though the latest of their number are now in their fifties and sixties. His lost boys of this new century are much like the confused and anguished souls who wander across the pages of his earliest novels, written in the 1960s and 1970s. Theirs is a world of absent fathers and distracted mothers from which they can’t escape. They seek explanations, but with no success. As soon as one mystery is unravelled, another asserts itself without warning. Modiano tells his never-ending story with a glittering eye for detail.
Modiano was born in Paris in 1945, in the aftermath of the Second World War and the German occupation of France. His father, a Sephardic Jew of Italian origin, refused to wear the yellow star and became a black marketeer and wily collaborator. Modiano knew nothing of these