The occupation

In search of Noëlle: Invisible Ink, by Patrick Modiano, reviewed

At some point in his twilit, enigmatic novels of vanished lives and buried memories, Patrick Modiano likes to jolt his reader with a glimpse of the all-too-real horrors that underpin his work. In Invisible Ink such a moment comes when the narrator recalls images from a postwar trial, where ‘behind the accused were about 30 suitcases — the only remaining traces of persons who had gone missing’. You might say that Modiano has spent a literary lifetime opening those suitcases to find out whose lives they contained. Born in Paris in 1945 to a Belgian actress mother and a Jewish father who had survived the Occupation by weaving through an