I've missed the obvious again. Several years ago I read two of Patrick Modiano's novels consecutively, and while I understood that the author writes a form of detective story, the point that this is essentially existential detective work escaped me. Kafka vaguely looms over this novel like a hazy godfather, paranoia is the guiding sensation, and a surrealistic atmosphere is enhanced by dreams, different times often merging seamlessly from section to section.
My other posts on Patrick Modiano:
Patrick Modiano: La Petite Bijou
Patrick Modiano: Rue des boutiques obscures | Missing Person
Patrick Modiano: Les Boulevards de ceinture | Ring Roads