Patrick Modiano

Translated from the French by Euan Cameron

Jean Daragane, writer and recluse, has purposely built a life of seclusion away from the Parisian bustle. He doesn't see many people, he rarely goes out: he spends his life in a solitary world of his own making.

His peace is shattered however, one hot September afternoon, by a threatening phone call from a complete stranger, who claims to have found Daragane's old phone book and wants to question him about a particular name it contains. But when Daragane agrees to meet the mysterious Gilles Ottolini, he realises that - try as he might - he cannot place the name "Guy Torstel" at all. Yet Ottolini is desperate for any information on this man . . . 

Finding himself suddenly entangled in the lives of Ottolini and his beautiful, but fragile young associate, Daragane is drawn into the mystery of a decades-old murder that will drag him out of his lonely apartment and force him to confront the memory of a long-suppressed personal trauma.

Imbued with nostalgia, subtlety, and its own unique poetry, this darkly mysterious novel weaves a spell that provokes as much as it entrances.

"A pure original ... you don't read Modiano for answers. You read each Modiano novel for its place in a giant sequence: a new restatement of a single unsolvable crime" ADAM THIRLWELL, Guardian

Euan Cameron's atmospheric translation does ample justice to this spectral tale" BOYD TONKIN, Independent

"A magnificent, haunting novel, whose spell lasts long after reading" Vogue

"Dream-like, solemn, utterly unique and impervious to aesthetic fashions, his work defies the passage of time" NATHALIE CROM, Télérama

"This incessant quest, which Modiano might judge pointless, nevertheless produces - in the manner of Proust - one of the most obsessive and fascinating searches for lost time" JEROME GARCIN, Le Nouvel Observateur


Elise Williams