Patrick Modiano, here in 1978, has had a long career and many of his earlier English-translated works are out of print.

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Nobel Prize winner Patrick Modiano has been translated into 36 languages, but in English, his books are hard to find. Several of his earlier works have been translated into English, but most are out of print.

A small publishing house in Boston, David R. Godine, has three of his books in print: two novels, “Missing Person” and “Honeymoon,” and a children’s book, “Catherine Certitude.” None is available in electronic versions and two were out of stock on Amazon Thursday afternoon. (Another book, “The Search Warrant,” is available in the U.K.)

Godine, it turns out, has a knack for spotting Nobel winners. The house also has published the 2008 laureate, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, another French author who was little-known in the U.S. before the Nobel.

Aaron Kerner, Godine’s editorial director, said Mr. Modiano has been “terribly overlooked” in the U.S.

“He hasn’t been read nearly enough,” Mr. Kerner said. “He’s an absolutely wonderful writer with sort of spare, beautiful works, very much concerned with the French past, particularly the Occupation and World War II.”

“There just isn’t a huge market in America for world fiction,” he added.

Thursday’s announcement from the Swedish Academy has Yale University Press accelerating plans to publish “Suspended Sentences,” a collection of three interconnected novellas by Mr. Modiano, translated by Mark Polizzotti. The stories are set in and around Paris during the Resistance, said Yale University Press Director John Donatich.

Mr. Modiano “has a really interesting reputation as a kind of reclusive figure who also just writes exquisite and simple prose,” Mr. Donatich added. “The mood is what people really come away with and a sense of this quiet voice and a sort of gauzy texture.”

“Suspended Sentences” is “in galleys right now,” Mr. Donatich said. “We’re hoping to have finished copies within a few weeks. It was supposed to be on our spring list but obviously we’re doing everything we can to rush the pub date.” The publisher hopes to issue the book next month rather than, as planned earlier, in February 2015.

In France, Mr. Modiano has earned mostly favorable reviews from critics, although some reviewers have bristled at his preference for short, simple and telegraphic-like sentences. Scholars have pointed out the similarities among Mr.  Modiano’s numerous books—he tends to publish a novel every two years—and sometimes chafe at the author’s limited explanation of his works. Mr. Modiano seldom grants interviews, and such conversations tend to be replete with pauses, hesitations and repetitions. Critics have praised the Nobelist for his personal and perceptive exploration of the intricacies of human memory and how it fades over time.

There is sure to be new interest from English-language readers in Mr. Modiano’s work, but publishers won’t be able to put out electronic books overnight. In many cases, the English-language rights to Mr. Modiano’s books have lapsed and now must be renegotiated, according to Anne-Solange Noble, the foreign-rights director for Éditions Gallimard, Mr. Modiano’s French publisher. This week, she is attending the Frankfurt Book Fair, where such rights are often negotiated.

Ms. Noble said she expects to hear soon from English-language publishers, but said she wasn’t going to stage a snap auction at the fair.

Mr. Modiano’s novels play with the idea of memory, and its fallibility, something that translates to every culture, she said.

“Memory can play tricks on you,” Ms. Noble said. “The things that are remembered, did they really happen that way? That is universal.”

Antonin Baudry, the cultural counselor for the French Embassy in the U.S., last month opened a French bookstore in an embassy building on New York’s Fifth Avenue.

The store sold out its copies of Mr. Modiano’s books Thursday, and placed rush orders for more of them in both French and English.

“There are a lot of very interesting writers who are not translated into English,” Mr. Baudry said. “It’s a risk, but it’s worth it. This is the perfect example of that.”

–Thomas Varela contributed to this article.