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Dora Bruder

Modiano, Patrick

3,861 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0520214269 / ISBN 13: 9780520214262
Published by University of California Press, 1999
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
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First Edition. Book is in very good plus shape, with clean crisp pages, tight binding, and corner/edge wear. Jacket is also solid, with minor corner and edge wear, some rubbing to covers, and a mylar cover for protection. First EditionComplete Number Line. Bookseller Inventory # 909249

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Dora Bruder

Publisher: University of California Press

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


Patrick Modiano opens Dora Bruder by telling how in 1988 he stumbled across an ad in the personal columns of the New Year's Eve 1941 edition of Paris Soir. Placed by the parents of a 15-year-old Jewish girl, Dora Bruder, who had run away from her Catholic boarding school, the ad sets Modiano off on a quest to find out everything he can about Dora and why, at the height of German reprisals, she ran away on a bitterly cold day from the people hiding her. He finds only one other official mention of her name on a list of Jews deported from Paris to Auschwitz in September 1942.

With no knowledge of Dora Bruder aside from these two records, Modiano continues to dig for fragments from Dora's past. What little he discovers in official records and through remaining family members, becomes a meditation on the immense losses of the peroid—lost people, lost stories, and lost history. Modiano delivers a moving account of the ten-year investigation that took him back to the sights and sounds of Paris under the Nazi Occupation and the paranoia of the Pétain regime as he tries to find connections to Dora. In his efforts to exhume her from the past, Modiano realizes that he must come to terms with the specters of his own troubled adolescence. The result, a montage of creative and historical material, is Modiano's personal rumination on loss, both memoir and memorial.


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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