Friday, November 14, 2014

Missing Person - Patrick Modiano

If you wan't to read this book I suggest you to skip this post..Of course,I'm not going to tell you the whole story..But some sort of scantiness is making me write this..

Usually what does you readers expect from a detective story or a thriller mystery ? You would be unable to sleep till you read the last line of the book..right ? You feel like you deserve to know every little truth of the story..But you know what,this author,very graciously snatches away your right..You couldn't even blame him,for he assures you with beauty in the untold story itself...At the end,we poor readers will remain thinking that "What would have happened to her !!!"..The book Missing Person was written by the Noble Prize winner of the year 2014, Parick Modiano..Earlier version of this book was written in French and later it was translated in to English by Daniel Weissbort..

Image from Google
The plot set in the post World war-II period when the Nazi Germany occupied France..In that period,so many people were missing and dead..The story starts when Guy Roland,a detective by profession sets out in search of his identity..He suffers with Amnesia thus forgets every thing related to his past,he doesn't even remember his race or his nationality..In that process he meets different personalities in various places with the help of photographs,news papers and address directories..With every little detail of a stranger,he use to assume himself as that person..His Retd.Boss and former detective Hutte helps him from Nice in this regard..Finally he identifies himself as Pedro..The story doesn't come to an end with this truth alone..He needs to find another missing person who tried to cross the Swiss-Franco border with him..So again the search takes a new turn..The story is filled with numerous characters and difficult names to pronounce..Though there are several French,American and Russian characters,the story mainly revolves around five people,Pedro (Guy Roland-The protagonist),his friend Freddie,Gay Orlov (Freddie's girl friend) ,Wildmer (an American jockey) and Denise (Pedro's life partner)


Patrick Modiano - Courtesy Google
The book finely elaborates the actual circumstances and tragedies faced by the people of France under the military command of Nazi Germany..Pedro's search for identity arouses so many questions..Without a name and a nationality do we really carry any identity ?? Are those the exact parameters to define an individual ?? The book seems to be a detective story in the beginning,but the author successfully transmutes the plot in to a philosophical and sagacious concept of journey with his magical narration..Sometimes,too many descriptions of surroundings and places in this book made me deviated,but I felt it is quite necessary to emphasize the darkness of the plot..The places,particularly the streets/apartments/hotels/bars etc were depicted in such a wonderful manner that you would exactly feel that you were almost there..I would say this is certainly one of the best things about the book..After some time you might forget the story,the characters and the whole plot,but believe me,you would never be able to forget Paris after reading this..Some times the poetic expressions made me recollect the writing style of Julian Barnes..Patrick Modiano also leaves the readers with the same feeling of inadequacy like Barnes..

Here are few lines from the book,

Strange people. The kind that leave the merest blur behind them, soon vanished. Hutte and I often used to talk about these traceless beings. They spring up out of nothing one fine day and return there, having sparkled a little. Beauty queens. Gigolos. Butterflies. Most of them, even when alive, had no more substance than steam which will never condense. Hutte, for instance, used to quote the case of a fellow he called "the beach man." This man had spent forty years of his life on beaches or by the sides of swimming pools, chatting pleasantly with summer visitors and rich idlers. He is to be seen,in his bathing costume, in the corners and backgrounds of thousands of holiday snaps, among groups of happy people, but no one knew his name and why he was there. And no one noticed when one day he vanished from the photographs. I did not dare tell Hutte, but I felt that "the beach man" was myself.
Though it would not have surprised him if I had confessed it. Hutte was always saying that, in the end, we were all "beach men" and that "the sand" - I am quoting his own words - "keeps the traces of our footsteps only a few moments."

There, under the embankment trees, I had the unpleasant sensation that I was dreaming. I had already lived my life and was just a ghost hovering in the tepid air of a Saturday evening. Why try to renew ties which had been broken and look for paths that had been blocked off long ago? And this plump, moustachioed little man, walking beside me, hardly seemed real.

Howard de Luz. Yes, the sound of it stirred something in me, something as fleeting as moonlight passing over some object. If I was this Howard de Luz, I had shown a certain originality in my life style, since, among so many more reputable and absorbing professions, I had chosen that of being John Gilbert's confidant.

Inwardly I repeated this name I'd been given at birth.This name by which I had been called through out a section of my like and which,for number of people,had conjured up my face.'Pedro'.

1 comment:

Kokila Gupta said...

Dear Nagini, I sure want to read ALL the books you recommend so this one is no exception still I can't help reading the post :) And after reading am more firm to read the book ! Yeah, i had this kind of experience with a movie based on a true story where we were left wondering what could have happened to her ? But the reality of picturisation/here writing, make sit a compelling watch/read ... A straightforward and honest review ... Thanks for share friend !