David R Godine Pub, 01/feb/2005 - 167 pagine
In this strange, elegant novel, Modiano portrays a man in pursuit of the identity he lost in the murky days of the Paris Occupation, the black hole of French memory. On one level a detective thriller, Missing Person is also a haunting meditation on the nature of the self. For ten years Guy Roland has lived without a past. Even his name was given to him by his benefactor, C. M. Hutte, who had welcomed this lost soul - originally his client - into employment at his detective agency. Now in retirement in Nice, Hutte has left Guy his office full of directories, yearbooks, and files of all kinds going back fifty years - pages that list people, things, vanished worlds, to which they alone bear witness. Guy is on his own, and his leads are few. All that remains of the person he had once been is a dim shape in the minds of two acquaintances, both society bartenders. Could he really be that figure in a photograph, standing beside an ash-blonde woman that one of the bartenders says had green eyes? Or is he perhaps the French aristocrat whose entry disappeared from the social register years before? He has sifted through strangers' recollections for traces of himself and of his supposed sweetheart, a Russian ballerina from Megeve - a couple who left nothing but a blur behind them. Missing Person is an extraordinary evocation of Paris in the 1930s and 1940s - the curious, muffled network of loose contacts, smoky cafes, illegal passports, and insubstantial figures crossing bridges in the fog. Patrick Modiano's spare, hypnotic prose, superbly translated by Daniel Weissbort, draws his readers into the intoxication of a rare literary experience.