9780544635067So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighborhood by Patrick Modiano | Northwest Review of Books
Modiano’s investigation into memory has earned him comparisons with Marcel Proust, but where In Search of Lost Time spends seven volumes comprehensively navigating the narrator’s past, Modiano’s fiction has a more immediate predicament that prompts the scrutiny, a question to be answered. Proust represents contemplative self-reflection, whereas Modiano works with mysteries as metaphors. So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighborhood, for instance, opens with a quintessentially postmodern situation: Jean Daragane, an aging and isolated novelist, receives a phone call late at night from a man who says he found the writer’s address book. It puts one in mind of Paul Auster’s City of Glass or Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which both open with mysterious phone calls. Modiano, though, plays the plot more realistically than either Auster or Murakami, but that doesn’t mean the conundrums are any less complex or postmodern.

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