Why I am in Love with Georges Perec

1. He grew the most remarkable goatee.

2. He believed that we should learn to live more on staircases.

3. He wrote a palindrome of more than 5,000 characters.

4. He kept an inventory of everything he ingested in the year 1974.

5. He listed his address as, “Georges Perec, 18 Rue de l’Assomption, Staircase A, Third Floor, Right-hand door, Paris 16e, Siene, France, Europe, The World, The Universe.”

6. He contemplated crossing Paris using only streets that began with the letter ‘c’.

7. He had as one of his ambitions to get drunk with Malcom Lowry.

8. He wrote a book of over 300 pages without ever using the letter ‘e’.

9. His defined writing in this way: “To try meticulously to retain something; to cause something to survive; to wrest a few scraps from the void as it grows; to leave somewhere a furrow, a trace, a mark, or a few signs.”

I owe a debt of gratitude to TC for introducing him to me.

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4 comments
  1. Curtis said:

    Does his ‘e’ less work A Void, and his definition of writing have a direct connection?

  2. Curtis,

    I have not read A Void, so I am not sure how much of a connection there is. I suspect that the title is at least in part referencing the void that the absence of the letter ‘e’ has left in the language, but Perec is very interested, at least in the one book that I have read, with the void that time creates, with the way that time destroys space and memory, and with how writing attempts to contest this.

  3. TC said:

    Sadly, I think you may have read his best work. At least for me, unfortunately, reading the next few was always an experience of missing ‘Species of spaces’
    Perhaps you will find it differently and re-inspire me to try his other works again. I think though from the sounds of it, you love what I love about this work.
    It reminds me of drawing in relation to painting. This work is a drawing, but in no way preliminary to another ‘proper’ ‘grown up’ or more substantial work. It has all the beauty of a drawing that works its own medium in a graceful and surprising way.
    So happy that you are immersed in it.

  4. TC,

    It had been my plan to take some time to wallow in Species of Spaces before I read his other book sin any case, but I may wallow a little longer now in light of your experience.

    I have just begun you other recommendation, Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space, and I am enjoying it so far, but in a very different sense than I enjoyed Perec.

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