"It's a book less on what I did than on what others, mainly my parents, did to me"
Taking in a vast gallery of extraordinary characters from Paris' post-war years, Pedigree is an autobiographical portrait of Post-War Paris and a tumultuous childhood - a childhood replete with insecurity and sorrow that informed the oeuvre of France's Nobel Laureate.
With his sometime-actress mother and shady businessman father barely functioning in any parental role, the young Modiano spent his childhood being packed off to the care of others, or held at a safe distance in a grimy boarding school - which he ran away from several times. His impecunious mother had "a heart of stone"; his womanising father once called the police when his son asked him for money, and later ceased all contact with him.
But for all his parents' indifference, it is the death of his younger brother when Modiano is eleven that cuts deepest, leaving a wound that can never be healed.