Author(s): Georges Perec (tr from French Gilbert Adair)
Anton Vowl is missing. Ransacking his Paris flat, a group of his faithful companions trawl through his diary for any hint as to his location and, insidiously, a ghost, from Vowl's past starts to cast its malignant shadow. This virtuoso story, chock-full of plots and subplots, shows the skill of both author and translator who impart all the action without a crucial grammatical prop: the letter 'e'.
'There is not a single E in this novel. That's right: no here, there, where, when; no yes, no love, no sex!' New York Times Book Review
Georges Perec (1936-82) won the Prix Renaudot in 1965 for his first novel Things: A Story of the Sixties, and went on to exercise his unrivalled mastery of language in almost every imaginable kind of writing, from the apparently trivial to the deeply personal. He composed acrostics, anagrams, autobiography, criticism, crosswords, descriptions of dreams, film scripts, heterograms, lipograms, memories, palindromes, plays, poetry, radio plays, recipes, riddles, stories short and long, travel notes, univocalics, and, of course, novels. Life: A User's Manual, which draws on many of Perec's other works, appeared in 1978 after nine years in the making and was acclaimed a masterpiece to put beside Joyce's Ulysses. It won the Prix Medicis and established Perec's international reputation.