The front of my copy of Life a User's Manual
"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, short stories 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 James Joyce's Ulysses. It won the Prix Medicis and established Perec's international reputation."
Perec was an encyclopaedist
, which means if he were here
he'd kick all of our sorry arses. What has not been mentioned thus far about Life A User's Manual
is that it is a puzzle book - think Joyce
's soul in the body of Nick Bantock
. There is a riddle to be solved; being halfway through the book I still have no idea what it could be.
Another thing which might be noted is that some poor lout
had to translate A Void
, not only keeping the spirit of the original French text
, but doing it without using the letter e