One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Modiano's "Pedigree: A Memoir"

Contemporary Proust? Who knows. Post-Nobel, more and more of Modiano is coming out. Someone's making $$$. Lots on Kindle now. When I first read him (a year or so ago), there was hardly anything.


From Pedigree:
     Over the following months, my father had to resign himself to my finally leaving the dormitories where I'd lived since age eleven. He made appointments to see me in cafes. And he trotted out his standard grievances against my mother and against me. I could never establish a bond between us. At each meeting, I was reduced to begging him for a fifty-franc bill, which he would give me very grudgingly and which I'd bring home to my mother. On certain days, I brought nothing home, which provoked furious outbursts from her. Soon -- around the time I turned eighteen and in the years following -- I started to find her, on my own, some of those miserable fifty-franc bills bearing the likeness of Jean Racine. But nothing softened the coldness and hostility she had always shown me. I was never able to confide in her or ask her for help of any kind. Sometimes, like a mutt with no pedigree that has too often been left on its own, I feel the childish urge to set down in black and white just what she put me through, with her insensitivity and heartlessness. I keep it to myself. And I forgive her. It's all so distant now ... I remember copying out these words by Leon Bloy at school: "Man has places in his heart which do not yet exist, and into them enters suffering, in order that they may have existence." But in this case it was suffering for nothing, the kind from which you can't even fashion a poem.

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