|Birth Day:||July 30, 1945|
|Birth Place:||Boulogne-Billancourt, France, France|
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Jean Patrick Modiano was born in Boulogne-Billancourt, a commune in the western suburbs of Paris on July 30, 1945. His father, Albert Modiano (1912–77, born in Paris), was of Jewish-Italian origin; on his paternal side he was descended from the well known Italo-Jewish Modiano family of Thessaloniki, Greece. His mother, Louisa Colpeyn (1918-2015), was a Belgian (Flemish) actress. Modiano's parents met in occupied Paris during World War II and began their relationship semi-clandestinely (they separated shortly after Patrick's birth). His father had refused to wear the Yellow badge and did not turn himself in when Paris Jews were rounded up for deportation to Nazi concentration camps. He was picked up in February 1942, and narrowly missed being deported, after an intervention from a friend. During the war years Albert did business on the black market, hanging around with the Carlingue, the French Gestapo auxiliaries. Its leaders were recruited from the underworld. Albert Modiano never clearly spoke of this period to his son before his death in 1977.
As a child, Modiano studied at the École du Montcel primary school in Jouy-en-Josas, at the Collège Saint-Joseph de Thônes in Haute-Savoie, and then at the Lycée Henri-IV high school in Paris. While he was at Henri-IV, he took geometry lessons from writer Raymond Queneau, who was a friend of Modiano's mother. He received his baccalauréat in Annecy in 1964. He was enrolled by his father in hypokhâgne against his will and soon stopped attending classes. In 1965, he enrolled at the Sorbonne in order to get a college deferment to draft, but did not get any degree.
His meeting with Queneau, author of Zazie dans le métro, was crucial. It was Queneau who introduced Modiano to the literary world, giving him the opportunity to attend a cocktail party thrown by his future publisher Éditions Gallimard. In 1968 at the age of 22, Modiano published his first book La Place de l'Étoile, a wartime novel about a Jewish collaborator, after having read the manuscript to Queneau. The novel displeased his father so much that he tried to buy all existing copies of the book. Earlier (1959) while stranded in London, Modiano had called his father to request a little financial assistance, but his father had rebuffed him. Another time (1965), his mother sent Patrick to the father's apartment to demand a tardy child-support payment, and in response the father's girlfriend called the police. From his first novel – which has been awarded the Fénéon Prize and Roger Nimier Prize – , Modiano has written about "the pull of the past, the threat of disappearance, the blurring of moral boundaries, “the dark side of the soul.” "
In 1970, Modiano married Dominique Zehrfuss. In a 2003 interview with Elle, she said: "I have a catastrophic memory of the day of our marriage. It rained. A real nightmare. Our groomsmen were Queneau, who had mentored Patrick since his adolescence, and Malraux, a friend of my father. They started to argue about Dubuffet, and it was like we were watching a tennis match! That said, it would have been funny to have some photos, but the only person who had a camera forgot to bring the film. There is only one photo remaining of us, from behind and under an umbrella!" They had two daughters, Zina (1974) and Marie (1978).
In 1973, Modiano co-wrote the screenplay of Lacombe, Lucien, a film co-written and directed by Louis Malle; it focuses on a boy joining the fascist Milice after being denied admission to the French Resistance. The film caused controversy due to the lack of justification of the main character's political involvement.
Modiano's 2007 novel Dans le café de la jeunesse perdue is set in 1960s Paris where a group of people, including a detective of shady background, wonder what is or was the matter with a certain young woman called Louki, who, we are told on the last page, ended her life by throwing herself out a window. Even though there are plenty of geographical details, the reader is left with a sense of vagueness as to what happened and when. For the first time throughout his oeuvre, Modiano uses various narrators who relate from their point of view what they think they know about the woman. In the third of five chapters, the protagonist herself relates episodes from her life, but she remains difficult to grasp. The author creates a number of instabilities on various levels of his text and this signifies how literary figures can(not) be created. The protagonist evades being grasped.
The 2010 release of the German translation of La Place de l'Étoile won Modiano the German Preis der SWR-Bestenliste (Prize of the Southwest Radio Best-of List) from the Südwestrundfunk radio station, which hailed the book as a major post-Holocaust work. La Place de l'Étoile was published in English in August 2015 together with two other of Modiano's wartime novels, under the title, The Occupation Trilogy.
Currently, Patrick Modiano is 77 years, 0 months and 16 days old. Patrick Modiano will celebrate 78th birthday on a Sunday 30th of July 2023.
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