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Suspended Sentences

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Suspended Sentences

Three Novellas


In this essential trilogyof novellas by the winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature, French authorPatrick Modiano reaches back in time, opening the corridors of memory andexploring the mysteries to be encountered there. Each novella in the volume—Afterimage, Suspended Sentences, and Flowersof Ruin—represents a sterling example of the author’s originality andappeal, while Mark Polizzotti’s superb English-language translations capturenot only Modiano’s distinctive narrative voice but also the matchless grace andspare beauty of his prose.

Although originallypublished separately, Modiano’s three novellas form a single, compelling whole,haunted by the same gauzy sense of place and characters. Modiano draws on hisown experiences, blended with the real or invented stories of others, topresent a dreamlike autobiography that is also the biography of a place.Orphaned children, mysterious parents, forgotten friends, enigmaticstrangers—all appear in this three-part love song to a Paris that no longerexists.

Shadowed by the darkperiod of the Nazi Occupation, these novellas reveal Modiano’s fascination withthe lost, obscure, or mysterious: a young person’s confusion over adultbehavior; the repercussions of a chance encounter; the search for a missingfather; the aftershock of a fatal affair. To read Modiano’s trilogy is to enterhis world of uncertainties and the almost accidental way in which people findtheir fates.

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