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  •  OT @ pico (7+ / 0-)

    Speaking of magical in another sense, I finished Life a user's manual a few weeks ago. It's fair to say I'm speechless and have been going around wanting to hug the book close to my heart. I hope to go back to it soon because my memory is so bad.

    What's amazing is that given all the "constraints" is that it reads so very well as a novel and not as an exercise at all. There's a real sense of an author's voice--compassionate and benign--behind the stories.

    •  Great! I'm so glad to hear that (7+ / 0-)

      you finished it, and that you liked it so much!  And you're exactly right that the author's voice is what holds it all together: Georges Perec himself, the authorial voice, may be my favorite literary creation of all time.  So warm, so human, so curious, so playful, and so, so fucking smart.  

      Have you read W, or a Memory of Childhood?  Quasi-memoir, absolutely shattering.

      As far as Life goes, no surprise that I'm sometimes haunted by the line,

      It is the twenty-third of June, nineteen seventy-five, and it will soon be eight o'clock in the evening.
      (By the way, in the French, each repetition of this phrase is slightly different: "it is almost eight o'clock", "it is just about eight o'clock", etc.  I'm not sure why Bellos repeats it literally each time when Perec is so careful not to.)

      And then you go back to that wicked opening:

      Despite appearances, the puzzle is not a solitary game: every move the player makes, the puzzle-maker has made before; every piece the player picks up then picks up again, that he studies, that he strokes, every combination he tries and tries again, every mistake and every insight, every hope and every discouragement have all been decided, calculated, and studied by the other.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 10:28:52 PM PDT

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      •  I read A void/Avoid (6+ / 0-)

        but haven't gotten to W, or a Memory of Childhood yet. I know that he lost both his parents and died at a young age himself.

        Perec was very interested in spaces and architecture and I'd like to read more about that too. Some of the descriptions of contents of shelves and cabinets remind me a bit of Joseph Cornell's box constructions though Perec was being far more deliberate.

        The final image of Bartlebooth in Chapter 99 is so powerful and bittersweet, especially as it relates to the Preamble.

        •  "Species of Spaces" is really good, but (5+ / 0-)

          mostly marginal essay-like jottings.  I think that's the English title.  Espèces d'espaces.  Starts with very small and local ideas of space - the margins of the very page he's writing on - and eventually zooms out to the universe.  It's fun.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Fri Oct 04, 2013 at 11:19:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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