When Patrick Modiano was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize for LIterature he was praised for using the 'art of memory' to bring to life the Occupation of Paris during the Second World War.
The Night Watch is his second novel and tells the story of a young man of limited means, caught between his work for the French Gestapo informing on the Resistance, and his work for a Resistance cell informing on the police and the black market dealers whose seedy milieu of nightclubs, prostitutes and spivs he shares. Under pressure from both sides to inform and bring things to a crisis, he finds himself driven towards an act of self-sacrifice as the only way to escape an impossible situation and the question that haunts him - how to be a traitor without being a traitor.
In this astonishing, cruel and tender book, Modiano attempts to exorcise the past by leading his characters out on a fantasmagoric patrol during one fatal night of the Occupation.
Patrick Modiano was born in Paris in 1945 in the immediate aftermath of World War Two and the Nazi occupation of France, a dark period which continues to haunt him. After passing his baccalaureat, he left full-time education and dedicated himself to writing, encouraged by the French writer Raymond Queneau. From his very first book to his most recent, Modiano has pursued a quest for identity and some form of reconciliation with the past. His books have been published in forty languages and among the many prizes they have won are the Grand Prix du Roman de l'Academie francaise (1972), the Prix Goncourt (1978) and the Austrian State Prize for European Literature (2012). In 2014 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.