W Or the Memory of Childhood

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David R. Godine Publisher, 2003 - Fiction - 164 pages
30 Reviews
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 ... Ãwith¨ 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 Childhood

User 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 Childhood

User 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

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
6
Section 3
8
Section 4
12
Section 5
15
Section 6
19
Section 7
22
Section 8
26
Section 21
103
Section 22
110
Section 23
114
Section 24
117
Section 25
121
Section 26
124
Section 27
128
Section 28
130

Section 9
43
Section 10
47
Section 11
57
Section 12
65
Section 13
68
Section 14
71
Section 15
75
Section 16
82
Section 17
87
Section 18
89
Section 19
94
Section 20
98
Section 29
134
Section 30
137
Section 31
141
Section 32
146
Section 33
149
Section 34
152
Section 35
156
Section 36
159
Section 37
163
Section 38
165
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

George Perec was born in Paris on March 7, 1936 and was educated in Claude-Bernard and Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire. Perec was a parachutist in the French Military before he began publishing his writing in magazines like Partisans. Perec also wrote the book, Life: A Users Manual. Perec is noted for his constrained writing: his 300-page novel La disparition (1969) is a lipogram, written without ever using the letter "e". Georges Perec died on March 3, 1982.

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