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The beguiling, never-before-translated dream diary of Georges PerecIn La Boutique Obscure Perec once again revolutionized literary form, creating the world's first "nocturnal autobiography." From 1968 until 1972--the period when he wrote his most well-known works--the beloved French stylist recorded his dreams. But as you might expect, his approach was far from orthodox.Avoiding the hazy psychoanalysis of most dream journals, he challenged himself to translate his visions and subconscious churnings directly into prose. In laying down the nonsensical leaps of the imagination, he finds new ways to express the texture and ambiguity of dreams--those qualities that prove so elusive.Beyond capturing a universal experience for the first time and being a fine document of literary invention, La Boutique Obscure contains the seeds of some of Perec's most famous books. It is also an intimate portrait of one of the great innovators of modern literature.
Puckish and playful, Georges Perec infused avant-garde and experimental fiction with a wit and wonder that belied the serious concerns and concepts that underpinned it. A prominent member of the OuLiPo, and an abiding influence on fiction writers today, Perec used formal constraints to dazzling effect in such works as A Void--a murder mystery that contains nary an "e"--and Life A User's Manual, in which an apartment building, systematically canvassed, unfolds secrets and, ultimately offers a reflection on creation, destruction, and the devotion to art. Before embarking on these experiments, however, Perec tried his hand at a relatively straightforward novel, Portrait of a Man. His first book, it was rejected by publishers when he submitted it in 1960, after which he filed it away. Decades after Perec's death, David Bellos discovered the manuscript, and through his translation we have a chance to enjoy it in English for the first time. What fans will find here is a thriller that combines themes that would remain prominent in Perec's later work, such as art forgery, authenticity, and murder, as well as craftsman Gaspard Winckler, who whose namesakes play major roles in Life A User's Manual and W or The Memory of Childhood. Engaging and entertaining on its own merits, and gaining additional interest when set in the context of Perec's career, Portrait of a Man is sure to charm the many fans of this postmodern master.
Combining fiction and autobiography in a quite unprecedented way, Georges Perec leads the reader inexorably towards the horror that lies at the origin of the post-World War Two world and at the crux of his own identity. Translated by David Bellos
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