A translation in Hindi of Nobel Prize (2014) winning French author Patrick Modiano’s suspense novel So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighborhood by Sanjay Kumar, this book tells the story of Jean Daragane, an elderly, reclusive writer who is disturbed one summer afternoon by a sudden phone call. The man on the other side, Gilles Ottolini, claims to have found an address book that Daragane had lost during a train journey. On the pretext of returning it, Ottolini arranges a meeting with Daragane in a Paris café, where he asks him about one of the people listed: Guy Torstel, a name that also appears in one of Daragane’s early novels, Le Noir de l’été (The Black of Summer).
Daragane is unable to remember and also reluctant to engage further, but is intrigued when Ottolini’s girlfriend Chantal Grippay meets him and hands him a dossier about a 1951 murder case that includes many names that were once familiar to him, including Torstel. This discovery takes him on a journey of self-inquiry, where present and past, memory and history merge together.
In this meta-mystery novel, Modiano, gives a haunting account of postwar France while weaving elements from his own childhood into the story. Forgotten details start to emerge, various characters are invoked and by shifting between different times, the narrative puts together fragments of Daragane’s memories that gradually start resembling a coherent story, building up towards an ending that is both powerful and haunting. Does he find what he is looking for?
Please note: This audiobook is in Hindi.