I am starting to wonder if once you’ve read on Patrick Modiano novel, you’ve read them all. I’ve read three now, and two seem more or less identical in ways to each other, or more so like body and shadow to one another. This novel begins at the end of WWII and Guy Roland is trying to recoup his own identity, lost in the haziness, violence, and subterfuge of the French Resistance. He’s now working as a kind of metaphysical detective retracing the steps he’s able to retrace in order to track down who he once was. Ostensibly this all sounds quite interesting and on its face it is, and throughout the novel it does skirt interest here and there.
Ultimately I probably read it too quickly and too uncarefully to engage with it how I should, but I gave into one of my bad readerly habits, to treat the seriousness of a book by it’s length and heft, not through it’s being. This is almost certainly a book that has a lot to say in it’s white space and margins as much as in the text, but it’s also one that I don’t particularly find compelling. What’s odd to me is that I was also really influenced by the annoying marginalia of the previous owner (I bought this book at the library for a quarter) who wanted to simply liken every passage as derived from or influencing another writer. And while this might be true, and certainly must be their process, I don’t find particularly useful. Oddly, I bought another book from the same library and the same reader had annotated this other text similarly.