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The renowned French author’s modern masterpiece: “one of the great novels of the century . . . on the level of Joyce, Proust, Mann, Kafka, and Nabokov” (Boston Globe).
Structured around a single moment in time—8:00 p.m. on June 23, 1975—Georges Perec’s “elaborate jigsaw puzzle of a novel” begins in an apartment block in Paris where, chapter by chapter, room by room, a rich cast of characters is revealed in a series of tales that are bizarre, unlikely, moving, funny—and sometimes quite ordinary (Rolling Stone).
From the confessions of a racing cyclist to the plans of an avenging murderer, from a young ethnographer obsessed with a Sumatran tribe to an eccentric English millionaire who has devised the ultimate pastime, Life: A User’s Manual is a symphony of human irony, portraying the mixed marriages of fortunes, passions and despairs, betrayals and bereavements, of hundreds of lives in Paris and around the world.
The apartment block’s one hundred rooms are arranged in a magic square, and the book as a whole is peppered with a staggering range of literary puzzles and allusions, acrostics, and problems of chess and logic. All are there for the reader to solve.
“Those who have a taste for the unusual, for books that create worlds unto themselves, will be dazzled by this crazy-quilt monument to the imagination.” —The New York Times Book Review