Self-Conscious Art: Patrick Modiano's Postmodern Fictions by Akane Kawakami

By Akane Kawakami

A Self-Conscious paintings is the 1st full-length examine in English to aim to accommodate the formal complexities of Modiano’s paintings, via studying ''against the grain'' of his self-professed ingenuousness. a close exam of his narratives indicates the deeply postmodern nature of his writing. Parodying precursors resembling Proust or the nouveau romanciers, his narratives are equipped round a profound loss of religion within the skill of writing to retrieve the earlier via reminiscence, and this failure is said within the discreet playfulness that characterizes his novels. This booklet is a well timed advent to the paintings of 1 of the main profitable smooth French novelists.

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This strange and enriched state of reality is echoed by the town’s celebration of the ‘feˆte de Saint-Javier’, which is a rather confused event: La Saint-Javier; ainsi appelait-on la feˆte de la ville, mais d’apre`s ce que j’avais compris, cela n’avait aucun rapport avec le saint de ce nom. Je crois que l’on honorait plutoˆt cette nuit-la` Javier Cruz-Valer dont on fleurissait la statue. [. ] Personne n’avait pu m’expliquer la ve´ritable origine de cette feˆte. (p. 141) 22 Patrick Modiano: A Self-Conscious Art Saint Javier or Javier Cruz-Valer?

14 There is no final closure, no triumphant detective, but an anti-climactic fade-out or a displacement effect. The Pacheco case in Fleurs de ruine, for example, stands as a warning against aetiological readings/writings, both to the narrator and 30 Patrick Modiano: A Self-Conscious Art to the reader. The narrator of this novel meets Pacheco at the Cite´ Universitaire, where he and Jacqueline eat regularly (using false student cards). Pacheco also appears to be a false student (he claims to, but does not, live in the pavillon des Provinces franc¸aises): but more seriously, the narrator discovers that Pacheco is none other than a certain Philippe de Bellune, an ex-collaborator who was never brought to justice.

Modiano’s Fleurs de ruine may be described as being governed by the (dis)order of narration. , on the night of their suicide in 1933. The narrative takes us through certain areas of Paris which played a significant part in the narrator’s own childhood and youth, oscillating rapidly between the tale of the suicide, the tale of the narrator’s 28 Patrick Modiano: A Self-Conscious Art childhood (post-war), and the tale of his life with Jacqueline (early 1960s). , is never given a solution or even a conclusion; but musings on the subject give rise to numerous sidetracks in which the narrator indulges almost playfully.

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