W Or the Memory of Childhood
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 ... ÃwithÂ¨ 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, stealing encouraged, rape common, 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 all of this happen, not on W, but before millions of spectators, some horrified, some cheering, some in-different, but all present at the games watching the events of that grisly arena?
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Review: W, or the Memory of ChildhoodUser Review - Stephen - Goodreads
Georges Perec's death in his mid-forties was almost as big a loss for the world of French literature as the similarly early death of Albert Camus. His was a most rich and creative mind, as his complex ... Read full review
Review: W, or the Memory of ChildhoodUser Review - Karielle Stephanie - Goodreads
This was the first novel we read for my French literature class. (Prior to this, we perused Roland Barthes, as well as the film La Jetée, which were both stunning). Usually I'm more a fan of novels ... Read full review