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  • Published: 15 March 2011
  • ISBN: 9780099552352
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176
  • RRP: $19.99

W or The Memory of Childhood



A disturbing, ground-breaking book about Perec's wartime childhood, and about where truth and fiction overlap

Written in alternating chapters, W or the Memory of Childhood, tells two parallel tales, in two parts. One is a story created in childhood and about childhood. The other story is about two people called Gaspard Winckler: one an eight-year-old deaf-mute lost in a shipwreck, the other a man despatched to search for him, who discovers W, an island state based on the rules of sport. As the two tales move in and out of focus, the disturbing truth about the island of W reveals itself.

Perec combines fiction and autobiography in unprecedented ways, allowing no easy escape from these stories, or from history.

  • Published: 15 March 2011
  • ISBN: 9780099552352
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176
  • RRP: $19.99

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Praise for W or The Memory of Childhood

A strange and complicated book, a work of tremendous, silenced emotion

Observer

His brilliant and profound memoir-fantasy deserves to be recognised for what it is: a masterpiece

Guardian

The childhood story of 'W' carries Perec's confused conception of the concentration camps...bewilderingly sad

Independent

Perec was a polymathic genius, and his early death in 1982 (he was only 45) robbed France of its most dazzling experimental writer, one who tried everything and failed at nothing...He has, deservedly, become a cult in France, particularly with young Parisians, who instinctively (and rightly) identify him as the super-zapper, the biographer of their fragmented consumer culture, of which he was himself the creation.

Glasgow Herald

A remarkable book about Perec's own early life whose formality is quite hauntingly at odds with its terrible subject

Guardian

Perec has a political edge and his books can shift your mental furniture. This is a fine example of a very brave idea that he made work quite brilliantly. as horrifying as Orwell but as ludicrous as Monty Python. What two bizarre flavours to mix into the same dish and not nauseate the reader! It's brilliant. It is a very influential book and it's always in the background of my writing. It's a very fine role model because it says you can make anything work as long as you navigate the pitfalls.

David Mitchell

Perec was a haunted writer, haunted by his Jewish ancestry, by the Holocaust that coincided with his own orphaned childhood, by the death of his father in 1940 and his mother's disappearance in Auschwitz. Writing, for him, was an act of exorcism

Sunday Times

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