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Out of the Dark (European Women Writers
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About the Author

Jordan Stump is a professor of French at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is the translator of numerous novels by Marie Redonnet, Eric Chevillard, Christian Oster, Lutz Bassmann, and Antoine Volodine, many of which are available from the University of Nebraska Press. His translation of Claude Simon's The Jardin des Plantes was awarded the French-American Foundation's translation prize and he was named Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He is also the author of The Other Book: Bewilderments of Fiction (Nebraska, 2011).

Reviews

Well-known in France (this, his 14th novel, was published there in 1996), Modiano tackles characteristic themes of love and loss in this elegiac work. The narrator, a middle-aged writer, looks back to the early 1960s when he was an aimless ex-student who fell in love with Jacqueline, a young drifter. Set in Paris and London, the story unfolds in simple dreamlike sequences. The student has left college and sells used books to eke out a sparse income. The enchanting, enigmatic Jacqueline lives off the men she meetsÄG‚rard Van Bever, a salesman ("the smell of ether was always hanging in their room"); Pierre Cartaud, a dentist; Michael Savoundra, a filmwriter; and Peter Rachman, a wealthy real estate dealerÄwhile she yearns to live in sunny Majorca. The student is without ambition; he exists to attend to Jacqueline. His life weaves as willingly with hers as she will allowÄuntil one day she disappears. Years later, they meet again; the student, now the writer, looks back at himself and Jacqueline and concludes: "We had no real qualities, except the one that youth gives to everyone for a very brief time, like a vague promise that will never be kept." This is a tale of life lived within a dream, and there is a motionless quality, as if Paris and London are not quite real, that serves the book's themes well. The unlived lives, the dreams of escape, the use of drugs, the constant appearance and disappearance of people without explanation, the spare symbolic imageryÄall staples of Modiano's workÄare replayed here to admirable effect, while the author's lucid prose carries the reader into his hermetic world. Translated smoothly by Stump, the narrative offers an accessible introduction to Modiano's work. (Oct.)

The title of this slender contemporary French novel conveys its shadowy and almost elegiac tone. The narrator recounts the course of his love affair with a woman named Jacqueline, describing their day-to-day existence on Paris's Left Bank during the 1960s and then in London. They separate, and after 15 years he encounters her again, but she has changed her name and seems to be denying her past. The character development is skillful, and the translator provides not only an excellent translation but a good introduction to Modiano (Honeymoon, LJ 9/15/93). Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.ÄAnn Irvine, Montgomery Cty. P.L., Silver Spring, MD

"Modiano's existential noir novel employs a moody, atmospheric prose (smoothly translated by Jordan Stump) to create a strange love story that somehow manages to be both suspenseful and contemplative."-New York Times Book Review

* New York Times Book Review *

"The character development is skillful, and the translator provides not only an excellent translation but a good introduction to Modiano."-Library Journal * Library Journal *

"[Out of the Dark] introduces to American readers one of the most prolific and critically esteemed French novelists of the last thirty years. . . . A whiff of Jeanne Moreau's corrupted glamour in Truffaut's Jules and Jim hangs over this affecting story of loss."-Kirkus Reviews * Kirkus Reviews *

"Translated smoothly by Stump, the narrative offers an accessible introduction to Modiano's work."-Publishers Weekly * Publishers Weekly *

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