This past little while I’ve been reading Georges Perec’s Life A User’s Manual and I am LOVING it. What I most appreciate about it is that while there’s a hell of a lot going on in it on all kinds of levels (it has a very complicated structure) it’s at least deceptively simple enough to read in bed. Even when I’m not thinking critically — and that’s most of the time — it’s still an extremely enjoyable and accessible story (or collection of stories). I don’t think I’ve been this delighted by a book since I was a kid.
Today I happened upon this article about Perec’s work by Warren Motte on the Center for Book Culture site. Motte says that Perec made a point of trying to be both a great innovator and a great storyteller:
[Perec’s] great discovery was that tradition and innovation are not mutually exclusive, but indeed share many affinities and points of complementarity, and his literary production as a whole may be read as an elaborate, impassioned demonstration of that notion. Each of his works is a laboratory of writing, a place where the very possibilities of literature are tested. Yet those works remain nonetheless accessible, readily legible, and indeed warmly accommodating to the reader.