Wednesday, February 3, 2016

"Pedigree: a Memoir" by Patrick Mordiano (translated by Mark Polizzotti)

ISBN: 9780300215335 Yale University Press

"Pedigree: a Memoir" by Patrick Modiano (Translated from the French to English by Mark Polizzotti) Yale University Press  ISBN: 9780300215335

A moody memoir of the young years of the Nobel Prize winner (for literature) Patrick Modiano.   I have not, at this date, read any of his fiction, but will do so.  I like his writing, and how he reflects on the relationship between him and his parents.  His mother was very distant and sort of demanding, and father was a border-line criminal.  Both parents lacked that parent skill, so Modiano floated between and beyond them. 

This brief book is hard to put down, and one can easily read it in a few hours.  It's concise in scope in that it addresses the years of his childhood up to the time when he wrote his first novel in his early 20s.   The narration floats down the stream, like memory at work.  His sense of place, specifically Paris in the 1950s is very clear.   The book is written dryly, but I sense a great deal of emotion from the author as he covers his life as it happened.  The writing is sparse, but loaded with meaning.  On top of that, since I'm Boris Vian's publisher in English, I'm delighted he gives some attention to the remarkable figure of the Saint Germain-des-prés scene.  It seems like he knew his widow, and she showed him a dance that Boris and her used to do together.   Great little book.

- Tosh Berman

Post a Comment