In this ingenious book Perec creates an entire microcosm in a Paris apartment block. Serge Valene wants to make an elaborate painting of the building he has made his home for the last sixty years. As he plans his picture, he contemplates the lives of all the people he has ever known there. Chapter by chapter, the narrative moves around the building revealing a marvellously diverse cast of characters in a series of every more unlikely tales, which range from an avenging murderer to an eccentric English millionaire who has devised the ultimate pastime…
Very funny and very sad... A treasure-chest of stories, something to be enjoyed by anyone who has ever responded to works on the same scale and in the same spirit as Rabelais and Chaucer and Sterne * Scotsman * The finest novel to appear in French since Beckett's trilogy * Times Literary Supplement * Amazing, moving and lovable * New Statesman * An eccentric, madly ambitious scheme to display life all at once. The product of a hectically ingenious intelligence, like James Joyce's -- Victoria Glendinning * The Times * A dazzling, crazy-quilt monument to the imagination -- Paul Auster * New York Times *
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