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Promenade Dora-Bruder

Adam Shatz: Patrick Modiano, 22 September 2016

So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighbourhood 
by Patrick Modiano, translated by Euan Cameron.
MacLehose, 160 pp., £8.99, September 2016, 978 0 85705 499 9
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... than the fate of its Jewish deportees, is what sets Modiano apart from his near contemporary Georges Perec, whose work was also haunted by the war. Born in 1936 into a family of Polish Jews living in Paris, Perec survived the Occupation in hiding, lost both his parents and built his work around the ...

Anticipatory Plagiarism

Paul Grimstad: Oulipo, 6 December 2012

Many Subtle Channels: In Praise of Potential Literature 
by Daniel Levin Becker.
Harvard, 338 pp., £19.95, May 2012, 978 0 674 06577 2
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... crack about free verse – that it’s tennis without a net – might be modified to describe Georges Perec’s novels: they’re tennis with nets everywhere. His whodunnit La Disparition (1969), a lipogram, was written without the use of the letter e (it was translated into e-less English as A Void by Gilbert Adair in 1994).1 W, ou le souvenir ...

Genius in Its Pure State

Mark Ford, 22 May 1997

... and influence on a variety of artists, from Marcel Duchamp to Michel Foucault, John Ashbery to Georges Perec. I recently spent several months working my way through this enormous archive in the stately gloom of the ornately carved Salon de Manuscrits on the first floor of the Bibliothéque Nationale, just down from the Bourse where Roussel père ...


Gary Indiana: Nymphomania, antic incest and metaphysical torment, 14 December 2006

Lust for Life: On the Writings of Kathy Acker 
edited by Amy Scholder, Carla Harryman and Avital Ronell.
Verso, 120 pp., £10.99, May 2006, 9781844670666
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... from an immutable set of personal traumas and fixations. However playful her methods, and whatever Perec-like constraints she imposed on herself, Acker’s unassuageable anger at her victimisation as a woman poured into her fractured narratives. Her first writings – quirky, stream-of-consciousness, deceptively confessional – are whimsically strewn with ...

Where on Earth are you?

Frances Stonor Saunders, 3 March 2016

... its diminishing arc, the details of your life inside recede. ‘On one side, me and my place,’ Georges Perec wrote: The private, the domestic (a space overfilled with my possessions: my bed, my carpet, my table, my typewriter, my books, my odd copies of the Nouvelle Revue française); on the other side, other people, the world, the ...

The Smell of Frying Liver Drifting up from Downstairs

Daniel Soar: Not a Disaster Novel, 9 March 2006

by Tom McCarthy.
Metronome, 274 pp., £6, October 2005, 2 916262 00 8
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... never existed – is immaterial. What is for me the most memorable novel of the last fifty years, Georges Perec’s Life: A User’s Manual, is endlessly valuable because of its infinite promise: Perec invented a Parisian apartment block and bisected it, as if it were a doll’s house, to describe lives that might have ...

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