There is, naturally, a lot of information about Perec's major works in Georges Perec. Bellos guides us through the combinatorial foundations on which Life A User's Manual was built, the motivations for the monomaniac lipogram A Void, the deliberate falsehoods of W or The Memory of Childhood, and the trip to Australia during which 53 Days was written. But it is also a goldmine of information about less well known works: radio plays performed only in Germany; ventures into cinema; the world's longest palindrome; a spoof scientific article based on his work as an assistant in a neurobiology lab; and an assortment of other works. (A complete thirty page bibliography of Perec's work is included.) But Bellos offers little critical analysis of Perec's works per se — they are never really separated from Perec himself. There is, for example, no attempt at posthumous evaluation; the biography ends with Perec's death.
Bellos' biography will have little appeal to those who have not read any of Perec's works. (It had the odd effect of making me want to reread those I had already read, while discouraging me from reading others.) But anyone who has enjoyed Perec's writing will find it a real treat: I have read few literary biographies that link writer and writings so tightly together. The same insights required as a translator of Perec stand Bellos in good stead as a biographer: the result is both magisterial in its sweep and deeply personal in its engagement, and I am not at all surprised that it won the 1994 Prix Goncourt for biography.
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