• Patrick Modiano's La Place de l'Etoile: Why Name a Narrator "Raphael Schlemilovitch"?

      O'Keefe, Charles (2014-10-16)
      Patrick Modiano's La Place de l'Etoile invites attention on at least two accounts. First, its appearance in 1968 marked an event in French publishing history, since Modiano used this, his first major work, to storm the French literary establishment as a mere twenty-year-old. Second, the book, a first-person narrative, is suffused by the theme of movement, a theme of no little critical interest: on the one hand it is as venerable as Odysseus' voyages and the wanderings of the Israelites; on the other, it is as contemporary as our distinctively twentieth-century art form, the cinema, the essence of which is obviously movement (witness the Greek etymon kin behind "cinema" and the English "motion pictures").