FREE READ ´ La Vie mode d'emploi

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FREE READ ´ La Vie mode d'emploi æ Con el placer de un coleccionista Perec nos mostró ue la literatura también es juego y ue detrás del telón de la cotidianidad se encuentra la poesía de lo anodino Tras la fachada de un simple edificio parisino encontró un archivo de historias Narrar es también aprender a mirar captar los relatos de vida ue S es inútil y por ende más bella Recorrí las mil y una historias ue acá se cuentan arropado por el mismo asombro con el ue imagino los renacentistas debieron haber explorado sus gabinetes de curiosidades Y supe ue la literatura podía ser otra cosa un juego muy serio ue refleja nuestra sonrisa más pícara Carlos Fonse. List of items in my bathroom abacus bouzouki once strummed by Warren Ellis cauliflowers in brocade Dungeons Dragoons strategy wargame for Windows ’95 elf ears Farsi medical dictionary gorgonzola Hunter S Thompson commemorative pineapple inkwell Jenga set knitting needle made from yarn Lemsip in cherry and chocolate flavours mangle nachos octopus patterned duvet cover Peter Andre poster circa Mysterious Girl uicksand rum salsa shoes Total Recall 4 DVD set Ulysses in Everyman’s Library hardback voles wisteria yarmulke zebra named Francine ProseReader reactions to this list astounding apathy broken bladder cauterised callipers damaged dingbats execrated excrement futzed forceps grazed gnocchi hurt hamstrings injured ionosphere jerked jew’s harp kinked knee licked lemon mangled mangle nastied nipples ouched ostriches pricked pips uacked uays ripped rumps singed songsheets touched tympani undergone uvula vuvvered vuvvers wankered wimps yooplop yimplam zingzam zoomsung etc repeat for whole book but with French eccentrics and whimsical bourgeois

Georges Perec Õ 1 FREE READ

Con el placer de un coleccionista Perec nos mostró ue la literatura también es juego y ue detrás del telón de la cotidianidad se encuentra la poesía de lo anodino Tras la fachada de un simple edificio parisino encontró un archivo de historias Narrar es también aprender a mirar captar los relatos de vida ue configura. The first time I laid eyes on Georges Perec not too dissimilar from his profile photo many wild thoughts went through my head a former child genius maybe who had a nervous breakdown ran away from home and was taken in by a religious cult that wore white robes and worshipped the moons of Jupiter or a crazy scientist who spent far too much time in a dingy basement playing around with bunsen burners and messing with chemical formulas or how about a uite brilliant eccentric piano player who was kidnapped by a Colombian drug cartel and forced to play a birthday concert for the wife of a cartel boss in a hidden mansion only to develop a seriously bad coke habit before being released Sometimes our minds wonder here there and everywhere in the case of Perec he takes the concept of an imaginative mindset but rises to a whole other level Paul Auster who was a big fan is uoted as saying 'a dazzling crazy uilt monument to the imagination' well it's every bit dazzling monumental in size and as for imagination it's simply like nothing else I have ever come across From the opening few chapters right through to it's end Perec's ingenious novel is complex puzzling serious side splitting funny and wholly originalSo ever looked up at an apartment building and wondered what goes on in there Ever looked at a lit window across the street and wanted to know what the person inside was getting up to Ever seen an old lady dressed in expensive clothes walking her dog up the front steps of a grand town house and thought just what her life has been like All the things she has seen and done her lost loves the family that are no longer alive where did she holiday does she have children her whole existence echoing down the years Well Perec obviously did Chapter by Chapter we are taken over by the many different lives that have inhabited a Parisian apartment block spanning sixty years As Serge Valene who is at the center of the novel contemplates the lives of people he has seen come and go over the years revealing the most diverse marvelous outrageous and strangest bunch of characters I can think of The sheer uantity of them is nothing short of phenomenal sometimes we are taken not just through the lives of residents but also the history of their families as well each and every tale within are shall we say never conventional and most border on damn right lunacy as for any plot forget itTravelling around rooms floor by floor entering through each door we get a low down of the furniture what type what colour is it old is it new What's hung on walls what's the carpet like how's the bed what personal items are lying around what food is in the kitchen is there pets is the place tidy messy smelly And this only touches the surface as the attention to detail walking around these apartment rooms is so thorough it feels as if you are trapped inside one gigantic department store showroom so the building itself becomes a living breathing part of the jigsaw just as much as the actual residents We don't just get the occupants of each room but previous occupants as well and their life experiences ups and downs tears and laughterThere is a voyeuristic thrill the further we journey around the building it grows on us it becomes our home as much as theirs And as various events overlap and interact with others making Life feel of a montage than a formal portrait and geographically as well as historically leaves the reader completely bedazzled but of course I have been so overly enthusiastic in my positives here there must be negatives right yes there isFor a start navigating around over 100 rooms was always going to reach a point where possible boredom sets in as the excess of descriptive narration throughout the whole book is erexcessiveAlso with whole pages within chapters that contain various different lists BIG ones it's uite easy to just skip through 2 3 pages and not really miss a thing In fact I could see many people just skip whole chapters Don't get me wrong these lists are interesting but do become tedious and reveal very little regarding the actual occupant of that particular room However there is the bonus of drawings and extra textual material some of which is genuinely useful for the overall reading process Perec is also a bit of a showoff regarding his vast knowledge of the possibilities of consumerism in 70's Paris But I guess in a way he has every right to feel overly confident Perec simply brings us life in all it's wonderful and strange glory Sometimes normal sometimes bonkers he does so on the shiniest of silver platters


La Vie mode d'emploiN ese monumental puzzle al ue todavía llamamos realidad Llegué a este libro en un momento en el ue la literatura amenazaba con convertirse en un mundo demasiado melancólico Encontré en él un golpe de vida Me enamoré de Bartlebooth y de su alocado proyecto detrás del cual late una gran intuición ue la belleza a vece. Let’s be clear from the outset ‘Life a User’s Manual’ is my favourite book of all time It's everything a novel should or ever could be Big characters ripping yarns wonderful descriptions word play structural experimentation and a sad truth at its heart It’s an existentialist work in essence tempered by its humanitarian outlook but a book nonetheless about the pointlessness of human endeavour The labours of the many characters contained here generally come to naught And it’s a book about entropy At its core is the tale of Bartlebooth his project of a lifetime and those whose services he enlists to enable him to bring about its completion As a young man with a private income he conceives a fifty year plan to fill his days ten years to become a watercolourist twenty years travelling the world to paint five hundred harbour scenes twenty years to complete the jigsaw puzzles he will have made from them Entropy enters when each re assembled seascape is glued back together then rinsed of its colour and returned to a blank sheet of paper Entropy ripples out from Bartlebooth from the pointlessness of his life’s work to the retinue he employs Winckler is the jigsaw maker who turns Bartlebooth’s paintings into puzzles Thirty years in with his part in the plan complete Winckler must fill his days too A prodigiously gifted craftsman he wastes away his time making devil’s rings then witch’s mirrors until at last housebound he re arranges the collection of hotel labels Bartlebooth’s butler Smautf has sent him “It’s not just hard it’s useless” he comments Morrelet whose job it is to glue the jigsaws back together claims to have worked in many capacities previously When he loses three fingers in an experiment and can no longer work for Bartlebooth he carries out experiments to make remedies none of which work The highlight now of his and Winckler’s day is the belligerent game of Backgammon they contest at Riri’s café tabac As far as possible Bartlebooth seeks to install his helpers in the apartment building where he lives And so arguably 11 Rue Simon Crubellier is the novel’s other principal character Valène is the artist who teaches Bartlebooth to paint He is also Perec’s conduit to an extent He conceives of a painting that will show all of the rooms at the front of No 11 a sort of cutaway revealing the lives of the residents therein And this is what Perec seeks to achieve in the novel succeeding spectacularly in my view It seems that while entropy affects its inhabitants the building is immune – the Plassaerts buy Morrelet’s apartment to improve their pied a terre Winckler’s apartment is about to be renovated as a des res But Valène moves from his reflection on removal men and undertakers to imagining the building’s eventual demolition to make way for a vast residentialcommercial development with no trace remaining In the end everything returns to dust Cinoc is another cypher for Perec No one knows how to pronounce his surname in the absence of diacritics and he works for Larousse keeping dictionariesencyclopaedias up to date by “killing” words rather than looking for neologisms consigning entries to oblivionextinction Thus his life’s work is the inverse of Bartlebooth’s and by extension that of Perec He starts with encyclopaedia entries spending 53 years erasing them then spends ten years going through old books compiling 8000 potential entries of lost esoterica for a “dictionary of forgotten words” The story of Carel van Loorens seems to me emblematic of the intertextuality at work within the novel It’s a digression that has nothing to do with No 11 and its story It just so happens that a boy is reading Loorens’ biography on the stairs It tips the nod to Calvino having van Loorens tell his Barbary pirate host Hokab el Ouakt about the cities he has visited in return for his hospitality in his palace It’s a ripping yarn set in Arabia reminiscent of ‘The 1001 Arabian Nights’ which of course ‘Life a User’s Manual’ resembles Fans of the book like to list their favourite digressions Why should I be an exception So among others there’s Blunt Stanley Ingeborg Skrifter and the 83 appearances of Mephisto; the anthropologist Marcel Appenzzell and his doomed uest to live with the Orang Kubu; the diplomat Sven Ericsson and his all consuming thirst for revenge on Elizabeth de Beaumont; the acrobat who wouldn’t come down from his perch The Baron on Trapeze; Carel van Loorens seeking to rescue Ursula von Littau from the harem of the Barbary pirate Hokab el Ouakt These tales are forever mirroring one another casting their mutual light and reflecting the author’s project and the methods he employs Sometimes it’s hard to articulate why a book resonates with you so much For me it’s the vast reach of the imagination at work here and the depth of its creativity the extent to which Perec realises his imaginary world his vaulting ambition There’s the humour and also its humanity and human insights Then there’s the brilliance of the storytelling – and some of the digressions are fantastic in both senses – and the evocation of place The story behind its construction the knight’s tour and so on adds another layer of enjoyment It’s hard not to feel put out when others dismiss a book you value or in this case value most of all And so I understand the indignation of admirers when they see ‘Kafka on the Shore’ say or ‘Lord of the Rings’ under attack even though I have little time for either book Yes the relentless microscopic descriptions in ‘Life a User’s Manual’ can sometimes be boring and there are so many characters that it’s sometimes difficult to remember who’s who It can appear pedantic and obscure Word of the book is undoubtedly “heteroclite” Its use once in an oeuvre would be enough but three times in one novel And some of the punning isn’t funny at all but I suspect this is a reflection of the difficulties of translation ‘Life a User’s Manual’ can be seen as a novella about Bartlebooth and his project with an essentially unrelated series of short stories and apartment descriptions bolted on But since the book is also the story of the building it coheres And after all Perec subtitles his work ‘Novels’ or ‘Fictions’ depending on your chosen translation Overall it’s a towering achievement a Santa’s grotto full of treats to which you can return time and again never exhausting its possibilities RIP GP Update – May 2020 Life is a long book and this is the fourth and a half time I’ve read it It gives rise to a uestion pertinent here on Goodreads When I was around twenty I read a book about reading The author’s name eludes me now but he argued that readers divide into two sorts – those who read a smaller number of books deeply and those who read widely Which sort of reader should one be then If like me you have to earn a living I like to write a little too then time is constrained Life is the sort of book that asks much from the reader demanding that you spend less time with other books if the two of you are really going to get to know each other But there’s a whole constellation of books out there just waiting to be read I'm tending towards the former at present Such a dilemma The vignettes scrolled past me with that delightful familiarity fulfilling anticipation– James Sherwood and the uest for the Holy Vase containing Jesus’s blood Marcel Appenzzel and the search for the Orang Kubus Paul Hébert and his doomed love for Laetizia Grifalconi Another reviewer here describes Life as his desert island read a reference to Desert Island Discs I’m assuming As I mentioned in one of my updates in French editions the subtitle romans is employed translating as either fictions or novels And that’s the point here; with Perec’s masterwork you get many books for the price of one That reviewer has skewered the truth of it; Life is the perfect book should you happen to find yourself shipwrecked on Tetepare or Aldabra This time around it seemed that all of Perec’s industry pointed to the futility of artistic endeavour Serge Valène took on a central role through the painting of 11 Rue Simon Crubellier he plans to execute with the façade removed showing each apartment and its occupants concerned with their daily existence inevitably the old painter has barely begun the enterprise when death takes him It’s Perec’s own project too of course Valène imagines the life of the building and its impermanence how it might be razederased to make way for a new luxury development And this brings to mind the futility of Bartlebooth’s project But Perec’s labours were not in vain In his meditation on mortality and meaninglessness he has left us his ageless book Thirty eight years after his death his masterwork lives on It leads me to a melancholy thought of sorts Both Bartlebooth and Valène die with their projects incomplete Did Perec have some kind of intimation that he wouldn’t be given the time to complete the works he had planned for us