Georges Perec W. or the Memory of Childhood

ISBN 13: 9780002720380

W. or the Memory of Childhood

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9780002720380: W. or the Memory of Childhood
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From the author of Life: A User's Manual (Godine, 1987) comes an equally astonishing novel: W or The Memory of Childhood, a narrative that reflects a great writer's effort to come to terms with his childhood and his part in the Nazi occupation of France.

Guaranteed to send shock waves through the literary community, Perec's W tells two parallel stories. The first is autobiographical, describing the author's wartime boyhood. The second tale, denser, more disturbing, more horrifying, is the allegorical story of W, a mythical island off Tierra del Fuego governed by the thrall of the Olympic "ideal," where losers are tortured and winners held in temporary idolatry.

As the reader soon discovers, W is a place where "it is more important to be lucky than to be deserving," and "you have to fight to live...[with] no recourse, no mercy, no salvation, not even any hope that time will sort things out." Here, sport is glorified and victors honored, but athletes are vilified, losers executed, rape common, stealing encouraged and violence a fact of life.

Perec's interpretive vision of the Holocaust forces us to ask the question central to our time: How did this happen before our eyes? How did we look at those "shells of skin and bone, ashen faced, with their backs permanently bent, their eyes full of panic and their suppurating sores"? How did this happen, not on W, but before millions of spectators, some horrified, some cheering, some indifferent, but all present at the games watching the events of that grisly arena?

This book, a devastating indictment of passivity and the psychology of crowds, will find its place beside such great works as Milan Kundera's The Book of Laughter and Forgetting and Primo Levi's The Periodic Table and If Not Now, When?

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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, memories, palindromes, plays, poetry, radio plays, recipes, riddles, stories short 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 Joyce's Ulysses. It won the Prix Medicis and established Perec's international reputation.

Language Notes:

Text: English, French (translation)

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781567921588: W, or the Memory of Childhood (Verba Mundi) (Verba Mundi (Paperback))

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  1567921582 ISBN 13:  9781567921588
Publisher: David R Godine, 2010
Softcover

9780879237561: W or the Memory of Childhood (English and French Edition)

David ..., 1988
Hardcover

9780099552352: W or the Memory of a Childhood

Vintag..., 2011
Softcover

9780002711166: W. or the Memory of Childhood

Collin..., 1988
Hardcover

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