Who hasn’t ever fancied to run away ? Forget his circle
of acquaintances and its habits. Leave without leaving of address, even if it
means never returning…
The narrator, Jean, is an explorer and documentary film-maker.
He is used to going from a place to other one of the planet to prepare
conferences that he presents Salle Pleyel in Paris. Exalting life ?
Nevertheless he feels a real tiredness. Then, instead of taking his flight for
Rio of Janeiro, he catches a train. Since Paris, at the time of his departure,
he has only few choices. He decides for Milan, where he fails on August 16th,
in full heat wave. The city is left, but he recognizes it.
In the hotel where he
stays, he learns accidentally the suicide of a french customer a few days
before. Out of curiosity, he looks in a newspaper for the article telling
circumstances. A photo appears there. He recognizes Ingrid.
He had got acquainted
with Ingrid one summer. He was 18 years old and made of stop in the South, in
the direction of Saint-Tropez. Ingrid was with Rigaud. She was driving and
Rigaud was behind her. Hurt, Rigaud had to keep a leg lengthened on the back
banquette. The couple had invited Jean who had stayed with in the villa which
Some years later,
Jean had crossed Ingrid in Paris. They had discussed and Ingrid had confided in
Jean remembers, while
he doesn’t much have to make in Milan. He plans to return to Paris, without
knowing if he wants to find his wife Annette.
Finally, Jean decides
to return in Paris, but to stay in a hotel of another district than his. He
consults the phone book to try to find Rigaud. The one that he locates seems
disappeared. The appartment which he occupied is deserted since so for a long
time the cartaker rents it occasionnally to gain money in soft. Jean takes
advantage of it.
Jean remembers what
Ingrid told him. Her love story with Rigaud. It had begun in 1942, in Paris.
Ingrid was 16 years old and she made some dance. She lived with her father whom
she had to join before the curfew. But, she had set of the delay. In the
subway, Rigaud (21 years old) had approached her and had suggested her
accomodating him. They had fallen in love and had decided to cross the
demarcation line, to wait the end of the war on « Côte d’Azur ». They
had failed on a hotel to Juan-les-pins. To explain their situation, Rigaud had
claimed they were here for their honeymoon. But a policeman observed the
registers of hotels. Ingrid and Rigaud had obtain the help of the desk clerk of
the hotel to find a safe hideout. What became Rigaud ?
Modiano signs another
novel of atmosphere. Nostalgic atmosphere with characters who avoid all a little
bit empty life, made by in the long run unbearable routine. The sinuous story
makes us pass from time to the other one, from a story to the other one, with a
Get by the suicide of
Ingrid, Jean tries to write all that he remembers himself of her. But, is not
it a way of delaying the moment to return to its rut ?
Jean knows for a long
time that one of his friends is the lover of Annette. Other one could moreover
succeed him. No matter, because Annette lets him know that she always loves
him. Returned to Paris, Jean is as a tourist there needing to isolate itself of
everything and everyone. Aside, in Paris, everything is possible for him.
Observe by far the microcosm which he perfectly knows, to see what he becomes
without him and wonder if he really wants to find his place there.
Original title : Voyage
de noces (France) Gallimard – 1990