Three by Perec

Perec has rightfully assumed his position in the pantheon of truly original writers of the past century. Godine has issued all but one of is his books in this country, including his masterpiece Life A User’s Manual. Here, in one volume, are three “easy pieces” by the master of the verbal firecracker and Gallic wit. The novella “The Exeter Text” contains all those e‘s that were omitted from A Void (Perec hated waste) and no other vowel (honest). In “Which Moped with Chrome-Plated Handlebars at the Back of the Yard?” we are introduced to Sergeant Henri Pollak and his vehicle (the aforementioned moped) that carried him between Vincennes and Montparnasse; in “A Gallery Portrait”, the sensation of the 1913 exhibition in Pittsburgh depicts the artists’ patron, beer baron Hermann Raffke, sitting in front of his huge art collection, which includes (of course) “A Gallery Portrait” of the baron sitting before “A Gallery Portrait,” etc.

Perec’s artistry has achieved a perfect balance between allure and imponderability.
Richard Eder, LA Times

One of the most singular literary personalities in the world.
Italo Calvino

Astonishingly rendered into English.
Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

I once had the occasion to write to the translator of these books, David Bellos, and I took the opportunity to let him know that Perec is my favorite writer, and that, since a translator is to a large extent the creative force behind a translated work, he, David Bellos, is also, in a palpable way, my favorite writer. Few writers have opened up the possibilities of literary art with as much enthusiasm, mastery, and pleasure as Perec.
—Martin Riker, Associate Director of the Dalkey Archive Press

Georges Perec (March 7, 1936 in Paris–March 3, 1982 in Ivry-sur-Seine) was a French novelist, filmmaker, documentalist, and essayist. He was a member of the Oulipo group. His father died as a soldier early in the Second World War and his mother was killed in the Holocaust, and many of his works deal with absence, loss, and identity, often through word play.

Ian Monk has been a member of French avant-garde writing society Oulipo, of which Perec was also a member, since 1998. He is English, but writes primarily in French. His translations have won numerous awards, including the 2004 Scott Moncrieff Prize.

David Bellos is Meredith Howland Pyne Professor of French Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton University in the United States. He is also director of Princeton’s Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication. In 2005, he won the first Man Booker International Prize for translation for his translations of the Albanian author Ismail Kadare. In addition to his Man Booker Prize, he holds the rank of Officier in the Ordre national des Arts et des Lettres and an honorary membership in The International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters.