'The last major event in the history of the novel' Italo Calvino
One of the most dazzling and ingeniously contrived works of twentieth-century fiction, an entire microcosm brought to life in a Paris apartment block. Serge Val-ne, one of the inhabitants of the apartment block, has conceived the idea of a painting which will show in exact detail the inside of each apartment within the building, every person, every object. As he thinks of his picture, he contemplates the lives of all the people he has ever known or heard about in sixty years living there. Chapter by chapter, room by room, the narrative moves around the building, revealing as it does so a marvellously diverse cast of characters in a series of ever more unlikely tales, which range from an avenging murderer to an eccentric English millionaire who has devised the ultimate pastime.
About the Author
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, memor.
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Comments about Life : A User's Manual:
I was disappointed in this book mainly because all the positive attention this novel receives in various reviews and literary sites led me to expect more. Some allowance needs to be given for nuances fallen away in translation however I still missed the excitement promised in fact I enjoyed reading about the intriguing structure of the book more than the book.
I have since read one more of Perec's novels and would offer the same comment.
Even the title seems presumptious for a novel which is composed of short stories linked together by a main storyline. Again the way the links are made is of more interest than the stories linked.
"A dazzling, crazy-quilt monument to the imagination" -- Paul Auster New York Times "An eccentric, madly ambitious scheme to display life all at once. The product of a hectically ingenious intelligence, like James Joyce's" -- Victoria Glendinning The Times "Amazing, moving and lovable" New Statesman "The finest novel to appear in French since Beckett's trilogy" Times Literary Supplement "Very funny and very sad... A treasure-chest of stories, something to be enjoyed by anyone who has ever responded to works on the same scale and in the same spirit as Rabelais and Chaucer and Sterne" Scotsman
Number Of Pages: 608
Published: June 2003
Publisher: Random House
Dimensions (cm): 20.0 x 13.2 x 3.5
Weight (kg): 0.42