An amnesiac searches for his identity, from Polynesia to Rome, in this novel by the Nobel Prize–winning author of Dora Bruder.
Guy Roland is in pursuit of the identity he lost in the murky days of the Paris Occupation. For ten years, he has lived without a past. His current life and name were given to him by his recently retired boss, Hutte, who welcomed him, a onetime client, into his detective agency. Guy makes full use of Hutte’s files—directories, yearbooks, and papers of all kinds going back half a century—but his leads are few. Could he really be the person in that photograph, a young man remembered by some as a South American attaché? Or was he someone else, perhaps the disappeared scion of a prominent local family? He interviews strangers and is tantalized by half-clues until, at last, he grasps a thread that leads him through the maze of his own repressed experience.
Published in France as Rue des Boutiques obscures, this is both a detective mystery and a haunting meditation on the nature of the self, Patrick Modiano’s spare, hypnotic prose, superbly translated by Daniel Weissbort, draws readers into the intoxication of a rare literary experience.
Praise for Missing Persons
“[An] elliptical, engrossing rumination on the essence of identity and the search for self.” —Frank Sennet, Booklist
“A fine introduction to his work. . . . Beautifully written and perfectly noirish, as though the world were being seen through a haze of Gauloise smoke. Be warned, though: after reading this, a sensitive soul may well seize up the next time a stranger waves.” —Kirkus Reviews