Don't know Modiano? Here's someone who can tell you all about him

I've been thinking that the Nobel Prize for Literature should probably be renamed as the "Honor for those Unknown to most Humans" (HUH) simply because I've used that acronym whenever a Nobel laureate's been announced in recent years. modianoThe Nobel Prize for Literature seems, for the most part, to be reserved for obscure figures from Mitteleuropa with cigarette-stained fingertips.  Most newspaper critics have repeatedly faced the challenge of quickly writing a good, authoritative column after the Nobel announcement  even though they haven't had a clue who the winner is -- even though they were hoping it would be Murakami, maybe, or Philip Roth.

(Nothing a little Wikipedia-diving can't remedy.)

But with the announcement of this year's recipient, Patrick Modiano, the fault is purely mine.  He's a tremendously intriguing figure I haven't read, and I turned not to the newspapers for their potted wisdom, but to Kai Maristed's commentary on Modiano's win at her blog, Point De Vue: Paris.

What I've always relished about her work  -- as a book reviewer and essayist -- are the deft turns of phrase that infuse her writing with a unique voice.  And the concision.  In this latest post you have another chance, my good friends, to learn not just about Modiano but also how to write about him in a short amount of space.

Enjoy.  (I know I did.)