One of the reasons people in a vicious addiction - idleness. When he had tilled the land, engaged in trade, how could he lead an idle life?
Abay Kunanbayev

Literary process
Telephone interview with Patrick Modiano

13.10.2014 696

Telephone interview with Patrick Modiano

Translation into free English (not literal) of a telephone interview in French with Patrick Modiano following the announcement of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature, 9 October 2014. The interviewer is Hélène Hernmarck of Nobel Media.


[Patrick Modiano] Hello.

[Hélène Hernmarck] Yes, Hello, sincere congratulations on receiving the Nobel Prize.

[PM] You're very kind and I'm very touched.

[HH] My name is Hélène and I'm calling from Thank you for giving us the time to ask you a few questions.

[PM] Ah, yes, yes, yes.

[HH] Where were you when you received the news?

[PM] I was actually in the street. Yes, I was in the street. It was my daughter who notified me.

[HH] Oh your daughter called you on your mobile?

[PM] Yes, yes, yes. I was very touched. It gave me even greater pleasure because I have a Swedish grandson.

[HH] Where were you, in the centre of Paris? In which particular street?

[PM] Oh, I was just next to the Jardin de Luxembourg.

[HH] Oh, wonderful. What does it mean to you to receive the Nobel Prize, what does it signify?                   

[PM] First of all … so unexpected, it's something I never thought I would receive … it really touched me. It's made me very emotional.

[HH] You've been a writer for a long time. Why do you write?

[PM] Well, I started very early, in my twenties. It's becoming a long time now. It's something natural, it's something that's part of my life.

[HH] You've written 20 or 30 books. Is there a certain book that you take greater pleasure in, which signifies more to you than the others?

[PM] Listen, it's difficult. I always have the impression that I write the same book. Which means it's already 45 years that I've been writing the same book in a discontinuous manner. You don't really know your reader.

[HH] Now that you will become world famous which book would you recommend everyone to read?

[PM] Yes, I always have the impression that's the last book I write.

[HH] What's the title?

[PM] It's called Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier.

[HH] Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier?

[PM] Pour que tu ne te perdes pas dans le quartier.It's about losing perspective within your surroundings. The last book is always the one I recommend because it leaves you …

[HH] Wishing for more?

[PM] Yes, yes.

[HH] Are you going to celebrate tonight with the whole family?

[PM] Yes, yes, I want to be with my family. Yes. Yes, with my Swedish grandson that gives me so much pleasure and loves me a lot. It's to him I dedicate this Prize. It is, after all, from his country.

[HH] Are you coming to Sweden in December?

[PM] Yes, yes, certainly!

[HH] With the whole family?

[PM] Yes, yes. [Laughs]

[HH] Do you have a big family?

[PM] No, not really, I just have two daughters and a grandson. So not a big family.

[HH] Thank you very much and once again congratulations.

[PM] Thank you. I hope what I've told you is not too confusing?

[HH] No, no, not at all. Have a great evening and warm congratulations again from Sweden and

[PM] Oh, I'm so touched.

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