by Georges Perec - £10.99 Vintage (1996)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780099449256 | ISBN 10: 0099449250
One of the most dazzling and ingeniously contrived works of twentieth- century fiction, an entire microcosm brought to life in a Paris apartment block.
Serge Valene, one of the inhabitants of the apartment block, has conceived the idea of a painting which will show in exact detail the inside of each apartment within the building, every person, every object. As he thinks of his picture, he contemplates the lives of all the people he has ever known or heard about in sixty years living there.
Chapter by chapter, room by room, the narrative moves around the building, revealing as it does so a marvellously diverse cast of characters in a series of ever more unlikely tales, which range from an avening murderer to an eccentric English millionaire who has devised the ultimate pastime...
"An eccentric, madly ambitious scheme to display life all at once... The product of a hectically ingenious intelligence, like James Joyce's."
(Victoria Glendinning, The Times)
"Very funny and very sad... A treasure-chest of stories, something to be enjoyed by anyone who has ever responded to works on the same scale and in the same spirit as Rabelais and Chaucer and Sterne."
(Price & availability last checked: June 2018)