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

By Akane Kawakami

A Self-Conscious artwork is the 1st full-length learn in English to aim to house the formal complexities of Modiano’s paintings, by way of analyzing ''against the grain'' of his self-professed ingenuousness. a close exam of his narratives exhibits the deeply postmodern nature of his writing. Parodying precursors reminiscent of Proust or the nouveau romanciers, his narratives are equipped round a profound loss of religion within the skill of writing to retrieve the previous via reminiscence, and this failure is said within the discreet playfulness that characterizes his novels. This e-book is a well timed creation to the paintings of 1 of the main winning glossy French novelists.

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The reader’s sophistication is put to the test by a work such as Fleurs de ruine, as it is disguised, albeit more thinly than Rue des Boutiques Obscures for instance, as a detective novel. 13 The temptation to swallow this ‘bait’ may be further enhanced by the hesitant character of the narrative voice: the typical Modiano narrator’s lack of assurance may provoke her into reconstructing the story more energetically than when reading a narrative told by an authoritative voice. Indeed, the reader will be driven by the desire to do what we have just done: she will be tempted to re-order it, to impose coherence and meaning on to it.

Vous avez raison, il faut essayer de retrouver les personnes et les objets perdus—ne serait-ce qu’une corbeille de fruits confits’ (pp. 123–24). The morning following his ‘appel’, Sarano has a very early breakfast with the chauffeur and marvels at the beauty of the new day: ‘Pour la premie`re fois, depuis longtemps, j’assistais au de´but de quelque chose’ (p. 132). This experience of a beginning can be seen as the symbolic moment of his escape from the eternal present in which he had imprisoned himself, and of his decision to find the past and himself through writing: he buys an old map of Paris, sets himself up at his bridge table, and writes from the early morning until half past seven in the evening.

117). Collective memory? Or is he an ‘empty’ narrator whose consciousness is the meeting place for the memories and feelings of other consciousnesses, as in the case of the amnesiac narrator of Rue des Boutiques Obscures? Perhaps it is simply that the narrator of Voyage de noces is not aspiring to write an objective account of the past, nor attempting to recreate the order of histoire, but restricting himself to the writing of a subjective, imaginary past, an evocation of the order of narration, his order.

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