Ring Roads, for which Modiano was awarded the French Academy's Grand Prix du Roman (1972), is the story of a young Jew, Serge, in search of his father, Chalva, who disappeared from his life ten years earlier. He finds him trying to survive the war years in the unlikely company of black marketeers, anti-Semites and prostitutes, putting his meagre and not entirely orthodox business skills at the service of those who have no interest in him or his survival.
Ring Roads is a brilliant, almost hallucinatory evocation of the uneasy, corrupt years of the Occupation and like The Night Watch is both cruel and tender - savage in its depiction of the anti-Semitic newspaper editor, the bullying ex-Foreign Legionnaire and the former prostitute, who treat Chalva with ever more threatening contempt; tender in its attempt to understand and identify with the Jew who cannot see the danger he courts.
A Marcel Proust of our time * Peter Englund, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy *Modiano is a pure original * Adam Thirlwell *From the satirical portrayal of anti-Semitism in his debut novel [La Place de l'Etoile] to later books such as The Search Warrant and Missing Person (winner of the 1978 Prix Goncourt), the Occupation shapes much of Modiano's work * Boyd Tonkin, Independent *Modiano is the poet of the Occupation and a spokesman for the disappeared, and I am thrilled that the Swedish Academy has recognised him * Rupert Thomson, Guardian *
The third novel by the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2014, which with The Night Watch and La Place de l'Etoile forms a trilogy of the Occupation
Patrick Modiano was born in Paris in 1945 in the immediate aftermath of World War Two and the Nazi occupation of France, a dark period which continues to haunt him. After passing his baccalaureat, he left full-time education and dedicated himself to writing, encouraged by the French writer Raymond Queneau. From his very first book to his most recent, Modiano has pursued a quest for identity and some form of reconciliation with the past. His books have been published in forty languages and among the many prizes they have won are the Grand Prix du Roman de l'Academie francaise (1972), the Prix Goncourt (1978) and the Austrian State Prize for European Literature (2012). In 2014 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.