Family Record

Patrick Modiano; Translated from the French by Mark Polizzotti

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An enthralling reflection on the ways that family history influences identity, from the 2014 Nobel laureate for literature

A mix of autobiography and lucid invention, this highly personal work offers a deeply affecting exploration of the meaning of identity and pedigree. With his signature blend of candor, mystery, and bewitching elusiveness, Patrick Modiano weaves together a series of interlocking stories from his family history: his parents’ courtship in occupied Paris; a sinister hunting trip with his father; a chance friendship with the deposed King Farouk; a wistful affair with the daughter of a nightclub singer; and the author’s life as a new parent.

Modiano’s riveting vignettes, filled with a coterie of dubious characters—Nazi informants, collaborationist refugees, and black-market hustlers—capture the drama that consumed Paris during World War II and its aftermath. Written in tones ranging from tender nostalgia to the blunt cruelty of youth, this is a personal and revealing book that brings the enduring significance of a complicated past to life.

Internationally renowned author Patrick Modiano has been awarded, among many other distinctions, the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature. He lives in Paris. Mark Polizzotti is the translator of more than fifty books from the French, including nine by Modiano.

“Driven by sumptuously perfect vignettes—tales of collaboration nearly forgotten, run-ins with a deposed King, the chronicle of life as a father—this book deepens the sense of unease and candor from which Modiano’s work so endlessly proceeds.”—John Freeman, Literary Hub

“Vivid set pieces . . . Modiano’s interest in characters living on the margins of society—grifters, chanteuses, black marketeers and petty thieves, all the standard habitués of the twilit world of the demimonde—is on full display in Family Record.”—Bailey Trela, Tablet 

“[A] satisfying blend of memoir and novelization . . . a fascinating exploration of memory and culpability.”—Publishers Weekly

“[A] rich, enthralling novel . . . [with] a furious excitement . . . I never wanted to put it down.”—Robert Fulford, National Post (Canada)

“At only 32, Modiano had already found the subjects and themes that would engage him across decades . . . This early work is a key to the author’s larger project.”—Rumaan Alam, New Republic

“[A] seamless blend of memoir and invention [that] is classic Modiano—made manifest in its bewitching ambience, vague menace, and muted longing—though its cumulative effects strike me as uniquely personal among his fictions.”—Dustin Illingworth, Jewish Currents

Finalist for the 33rd Annual French Translation Prize sponsored by the French- American Foundation
ISBN: 9780300238310
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
160 pages, 5 x 7 3/4
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