13 May 2014

Patrick Modiano: L'Horizon (2010)

I've missed the obvious again. Several years ago I read two of Patrick Modiano's novels consecutively, and while I understood that the author writes a form of detective story, the point that this is essentially existential detective work escaped me. Kafka vaguely looms over this novel like a hazy godfather, paranoia is the guiding sensation, and a surrealistic atmosphere is enhanced by dreams, different times often merging seamlessly from section to section.

L'Horizon has two main characters: Jean Bosmans, a writer in search of a woman he knew forty years before, when he was in continual flight from a menacing couple, one perhaps his mother and the other a defrocked priest; and Margaret De Coz, the woman Bosmans knew and who is also shown at different times in the past and is also in continual flight, but from the menacing Boyaval, a man she scarcely knows.

Bosmans feels guilty but doesn't know why, he can't relate, can't make contact, he bearly exists, even sits with only one buttock on a seat as if undecided between stasis or movement.

The relationship between Margaret and Bosmans was brief, but seems very important to Bosmans at least, although here – until the end at least – we are only aware of Margaret's life before and when she knew Bosmans: she meets Boyaval in Annecy, but he follows her to Switzerland, from which she escapes from him to the relative anonymity of Paris, where she meets the fellow outsider Bosmans.

Having looked online Bosmans goes to Berlin to find Margaret, although the book ends before he goes into her bookshop.

My other posts on Patrick Modiano:
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Patrick Modiano: La Petite Bijou
Patrick Modiano: Rue des boutiques obscures | Missing Person
Patrick Modiano: Les Boulevards de ceinture | Ring Roads

1 comment:

Unknown said...


Modiano’s novel speaks a universal truth about the human condition. A rare combination of excellence and elegance.
پاتریک مودیانو