978-0-520-21426-2 / 9780520214262

Dora Bruder


Publisher:University of California Press



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About the book:

In 1988, French novelist Patrick Modiano happened upon a notice in a 1941 Paris newspaper placed by the parents of a 15-year-old Jewish girl, Dora Bruder, who had disappeared from the Catholic boarding school where she was being hidden. The notice stuck in Modiano's memory, and it launched him on a quest for information about the girl's life that resulted in Dora Bruder. Modiano's lengthy investigation turned up only tiny scraps of information about Dora--but every scrap made the mystery of her disappearance more haunting. Most strikingly, Modiano found her name on a list of Jews deported from Paris to Auschwitz in 1942. "It takes time for what has been erased to resurface," Modiano explains. "It took me four years to discover her exact date of birth: 25 February 1926. And a further two years to find out her place of birth: Paris, 12th arondissement. But I am a patient man. I can wait for hours in the rain." Eventually Modiano's search forces him to come to terms with his own difficult adolescence. Yet this book defies categorization in both history and memoir. It is something more complex, and harder--a poetic acknowledgment and a philosophical refutation of common and terrifying human fates: being isolated, forgotten, and lost. --Michael Joseph Gross

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