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Anton Vowl is missing. Ransacking his Paris flat, a group of his faithful companions trawl through his diary for any hint as to his location and, insidiously, a ghost, from Vowl's... Read more
Anton Vowl is missing. Ransacking his Paris flat, a group of his faithful companions trawl through his diary for any hint as to his location and, insidiously, a ghost, from Vowl's past starts to cast its malignant shadow. This virtuoso story, chock-full of plots and subplots, shows the skill of both author and translator who impart all the action without a crucial grammatical prop: the letter 'e'.
Georges Perec (1936-82) won the Prix Renaudot in 1965 for his first novel Things: A Story of the Sixties, and went on to exercise his unrivalled mastery of language in almost every imaginable kind of writing, from the apparently trivial to the deeply personal. He composed acrostics, anagrams, autobiography, criticism, crosswords, descriptions of dreams, film scripts, heterograms, lipograms, memories, palindromes, plays, poetry, radio plays, recipes, riddles, stories short and long, travel notes, univocalics, and, of course, novels. Life: A User's Manual, which draws on many of Perec's other works, appeared in 1978 after nine years in the making and was acclaimed a masterpiece to put beside Joyce's Ulysses. It won the Prix Medicis and established Perec's international reputation.
"One overcast weekend in October 1974, Georges Perec set out in quest of the "infraordinary": the humdrum, the nonevent, the everyday--"what happens," as he put it, "when nothing happens." His choice of locale was Place Saint-Sulpice where, ensconced behind first one cafâe window, then another, he spent three days recording everything to pass through his field of vision: the people walking by;...
Chapter by chapter, the narrative moves around the building revealing a marvellously diverse cast of characters in a series of every more unlikely tales, which range from an avenging murderer to an eccentric English millionaire who has devised the ultimate pastime...
Written in alternating chapters, W or the Memory of Childhood, tells two parallel tales, in two parts. The other story is about two people called Gaspard Winckler: one an eight-year-old deaf-mute lost in a shipwreck, the other a man despatched to search for him, who discovers W, an island state based on the rules of sport.
At once an affectionate portrait of mid-century Paris and a daring pointillist autobiography, this title translates into English Georges Perec's major works. It consists of 480 numbered statements, all beginning identically with "I remember," and all limited to pieces of public knowledge - brand names and folk wisdom, actors and illnesses.
Perec was a leading exponent of French literary surrealism who found humour - and pathos - in the human need for classification. Thoughts of Sorts is itself unclassifiable, a unique collection of philosophical riffs on his obsession with lists, puzzles, catalogues, and taxonomies. Introduced by Margaret Drabble.
The Oulipo's members have included luminaries of the calibre of Italo Calvino, Marcel Duchamp and Georges Perec. In 1979 Georges Perec wrote a brief entertainment for a publisher's catalogue: The Winter Journey. It became his most reprinted text, and revealed an extraordinary literary discovery, a secret concealed at the heart of modern French literature. Following Perec's death, the group began...
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