Dora Bruder/ The Search Warrant by Patrick Modiano
Like many people worldwide, I didn’t know who was this person who won last year’s Nobel Prize for Literature. Apparently he is so famous in France that there is a word named after him. I finally had the opportnity to borrow one of his works from the library. Dora Bruder recounts how Modiano saw a missing person report of the above-mentioned girl in a 1941 Paris newspaper. He wonders why she would run away and proceeds to find out more about her. He finds out that she was a Jew, studied at a convent school for girls and was caught eventually to Auschwitz. What captivated me was his details: the addresses, records and his observations of the places he saw at the point of writing. His conjectures about Dora Bruder and her family serve to support our understanding of life during the war. Despite being somewhat similar to Anne Frank’s personal observations, its difference lies in the questions that arise from Modiano’s research: why and how did she run away? How was she caught in the end? Was her escape planned or on the spur of the moment? In doing so, he forces us to pay attention to the power of memory: he muses that somewhere, “there will be a seventy-year old woman who still remembers who Dora Bruder was.” His attempt to piece up Bruder’s life leaves us lamenting the dearth of information and to understand why preservation is important.
The Last Ringbearer by Kirill Eskov
It takes a different perspective from the events in Lord of the Rings, from the point of view of the ‘losers’. The first chapter begins with two orcs escaping the killing and fleeing back to Mordor and the story recounts their attempts to prevent the ‘good’ side from winning by destroying Galadriel’s mirror. It is a complex manoeuvre where Tangorn, a Gondorian noble rescued by the orcs, is sent into Umbar to meet the Elves. Although he is assassinated in the end, the palantir is delivered to Lorien and Elvish magic is destroyed despite Gandalf’s attempts to stop it.
I would like to see it become a film, as a spin-off from the LOTR franchise perhaps. So far there is no hardcopy edition, but it is free online.