Thursday, June 18, 2009

Perec at the NBCC

This is maybe one of the strongest recommendations I've seen of a Godine writer who has — to say the least — an enthusiastic fan base. Critical Mass, the NBCC blog, has been posting responses to the question, 'which work in translation had the deepest effect on their reading and writing?'

Martin Riker, of the estimable Dalkey Archive Press, writes, 'That would be one or all of Georges Perec’s novels. If I had to pick one, it would be Life A User’s Manual, unless it was W, or A Memory of Childhood. Although it might also be his early novel, Things. These are the translated titles, to which I resort because I don’t speak or read French. I once had the occasion to write to the translator of these books, David Bellos, and I took the opportunity to let him know that Perec is my favorite writer, and that, since a translator is to a large extent the creative force behind a translated work, he, David Bellos, is also, in a palpable way, my favorite writer. Few writers have opened up the possibilities of literary art with as much enthusiasm, mastery, and pleasure as Perec.'

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