Modiano's debut novel is a sardonic, often grotesque satire of France during the Nazi occupation. We are immediately plunged into the hallucinatory imagination of Raphael Schlemilovitch, a young Jewish man, torn between self-aggrandisement and self-loathing, who may be the heir to a Venezuelan fortune, may have lived during the Nazi Occupation, may have rubbed shoulders with the most notorious collaborators and anti-Semites of the time, may even have been the lover of Eva Braun...or he may have been none of these things. But at the centre of this vortex is 'La Place de l'Etoile' - the Place of the Star - which is both the geographical and moral centre of Paris, and that place next the heart where French Jews were compelled to wear the yellow star, the symbol of their persecution.
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