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Species of Spaces and Other Pieces

4.29  ·  Rating Details ·  1,369 Ratings  ·  74 Reviews
Georges Perec, author of the highly acclaimed Life: A User's Manual, was only forty-six when he died in 1982. Despite a tragic childhood, during which his mother was deported to Auschwitz, Perec produced some of the most entertaining essays of the age. His literary output was deliberately varied in form and style and this generous selection of Perec's non-fictional work, t ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 1st 1998 by Penguin Classics (first published 1974)
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Community Reviews

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Glenn Russell
Aug 10, 2016 Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing

Georges Perec (1936-1982) - “What a marvellous invention man is! He can blow on his hands to warm them up, and blow on his soup to cool it down.”

Georges Perec, age 45, told an interviewer how books by authors he loved when he was in his 20s were like pieces of a puzzle but there were still spaces between the pieces and those were the spaces where he could write. He went on to say how he would like to write everything in every way possible, including children’s books, science fiction, detective n
Adam Floridia
Mar 29, 2013 Adam Floridia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: being-a-human
Species of Spaces 5/5:

Something about Perec’s originality just really gets me. His attention to detail, his ability to notice the everyday, but more so his taking the time to pay attention, to notice the everyday is some combination of the words “breathtaking” and “touching” that I can’t pin down. It’s like he embodies those hackneyed saying “you’ve got to stop to smell the roses” or “Life move’s pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around, you might miss it” (thanks Ferris). Of course, Perec
Jul 22, 2015 Ubiqua rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Riflessioni sullo spazio dal piccolo al grande, dal nostro letto all’universo infinito. Perec le focalizza su casa, condominio e città. Alcuni spunti sono interessanti, con una buon indice di apertura mentale. Complessivamente un po’ ozioso, ugualmente leggibile perché formato da capitoli brevissimi. Facile da interrompere, digeribile, si può leggere in autobus, al parco, in fila alle poste.
Feb 22, 2011 Andrew added it
Shelves: essays, oulipo
If you want a plot, or if you want a cohesive argument, then Perec isn't for you. If you want beautifully rendered belles-lettres about everything and nothing, then he should be right up your alley. In this slender volume of spatial meditations, lists, word games, and other odd ends, Perec as a person shines forth. In his novels, he seemed to exist more as a method, a way of writing. Even in the autobiographical, W or the Memory of Childhood, the childhood reminiscences didn't give us a terribly ...more
May 17, 2016 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, fr
Questo andar per luoghi (2) Non cercare di trovare troppo rapidamente una definizione della città; non è cosa da poco, e ci sono molte probabilità di sbagliarsi.
Innanzitutto fare l’inventario di quanto si vede. Elencare ciò di cui si è sicuri. Stabilire distinzioni elementari; per esempio tra quello che è la città e quello che non è la città.
Interessarsi a ciò che separa la città da ciò che non è città. Osservare quello che succede quando finisce la città.

Esercitazioni. Osservare la strada, di
Jul 27, 2016 Jfmarhuenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Escribir: tratar de retener algo meticulosamente, de conseguir que algo sobreviva: arrancar unas migajas precisas al vacío que se excava continuamente, dejar en alguna parte un surco, un rastro, una marco o algunos signos"
Perec insufla amor por la literatura. Cada párrafo contiene miles de historias abiertas para que tu imaginación les de forma.
عبد الحميد بوحسين
توجد ترجمة جميلة للكتاب بعنوان "فصائل الفضاءات" للمترجم المغربي عبد الكبير الشرقاوي
Stephanie McGarrah
Apr 17, 2015 Stephanie McGarrah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This was my first book by Perec, and even though I was intrigued by some of the reviews, I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. I was expecting something difficult to read, but the only part that went over my head were the word games at the end of the book, (kudos to anyone who knew the answers to these) and I still loved reading about them. He was quite the wordsmith.

The short pieces that make up Species of Spaces are eclectic, varying in style. I loved this approach to writing and if
Nov 26, 2007 Jesse rated it really liked it
Shelves: them, him
One of the essays collected in this volume ("Robert Antelme or the Truth of Literature," 1962) carries an odd disclaimer from the compiler: "this essay dates to a time when Perec was more political in his outlook than he subsequently became," which seems to suggest that the content of the piece would be rendered invalid by a subsequent ideological shift on Perec's part.

It is in this piece, though, that Perec best sums up what was clearly his lifelong literary mission. He would be more succinct i
Een uitnodiging om onze vertrouwde omgevingen met nieuwe ogen te bekijken. Perec zelf kijkt met een inventariserende blik en kondigt hier aan dat hij 'Het leven: een gebruiksaanwijzing' gaat schrijven.
Aug 08, 2015 Feliks rated it did not like it
Shelves: criticism, philosophy
Not at all satisfying. Georges Perec comes across as very, very, creepy. And his schtick is mostly 'list' mania. Every chapter is about little else than this fetish of his.

He simply makes mental lists of everything around him and everything he can ever remember being around him. Lists of things to do, lists of things he hasn't done, lists of things he did once, lists of things he'll never do again. It quickly grows wearisome.

Moreover, the writing style is dry and crackling, uncooperative, chop
Jul 18, 2016 Zioluc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: altro
Georges Perec è stato una specie di scienziato della letteratura, un umanista molto razionalista, un ossessivo leggero e libero capace di far parlare gli oggetti e i palazzi e di donar loro un'anima semplicemente enumerandoli in tassonomie dettate dalla sua sensibilità di spettatore del mondo.

In questo libriccino si chiede cosa è lo spazio, da quello bianco della pagina a quello di un letto, di una stanza, di una città o del mondo intero: e con semplici considerazioni, elenchi di elementi visivi
Oct 01, 2007 Jason rated it it was amazing
By far my favorite work of Perec, and probably in my top ten books of all time. It is a great introduction to his style; if you can't get into this, don't bother with Perec. One of my favorite works struggling with the enigma of the written word, what it means to be a writer, what it means to be a reader.
Mar 30, 2009 J rated it liked it

Modes of space within a space within a space, relationships thereof, conversations therewith and the subjectivity of place.

Interesting ideas, plays with the mind: existentialism. Is definitely an architect of form; though slight confusion with its language.
Jul 13, 2014 Alicia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This man was a genius. This is a great collection to take your time over, and savor every word. There are so many of them, and they make you think in so many new ways.
Oct 09, 2007 Courtney rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: other people with ocd
I love the list of everything he ate for a year.

I wish he'd lived longer, so we could have been friends.
May 05, 2011 K. rated it liked it
eggplant parmigiana
Oct 16, 2013 TinHouseBooks rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-we-love
Veronica Martin (Editorial Intern, The Open Bar): My end of summer, transitional reading list is less a putting together and more a falling together than anything. One book that has ended up crossing summer’s boundary is George Perec’s Species of Spaces and Other Pieces. It turns out, Perec is kind of the perfect person to read at this juncture. Moving from one season into the next is very much a clearing of space, a brief moment when passing between two walled rooms—summer, fall—you find yourse ...more
Prabhat Saraswat
An absolutely brilliant book. I picked this book from a stock clearance sale of a book store, The image of the man himself intrigued me very much. As i read a little more, I knew this would be a beautiful book! Brought it! and yes it was. :)

It starts with a poem, a kid poem. It is a translated version as the entire prose is originally written in french, but most of the humor and syntactical playful experiments of georges perec is preserved.

Then begins a journey through spaces. Spaces around us,
Nov 21, 2012 twrctdrv rated it really liked it
Note before review: My rating is based on both Species of Spaces and the supplemental readings. If it were just Species, this rating would be five stars.

First, on Species:
It's been about a month or two between when I read this piece and now, but it's stuck with me the whole time. Perec pays close attention to everything around him, zooming out from the page he writes on the the whole of the universe, and along the way he observes things as simple as a man locking his car to go to the store, the
May 08, 2013 Bjorn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france
Espèces d'espaces (1974) (which has the trying-too-hard English title Species of Spaces and Other Pieces) isn't a novel, rather it's more of a freeform essay on the subject of space. Not in the "outer space" astronomical sense, but rather in the sense of how we take up space - how we inhabit it, how we imbue it.

Several times, I've tried to imagine a flat in which there'd be a completely unnecessary room, absolutely and deliberately unnecessary. It wouldn't be a storage room, or an extra bedroom
Apr 26, 2015 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This collection is like a textual version of 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'; it's a mix of short essays, stories, phrases, thoughts & experiments. It's accessible, sometimes funny, misleadingly factual then candid. Perec is a wonderful writer and his relationship with words, and their appearance on the page, is unique. His way of 'reading' urban spaces - their streets, patterns, inhabitants - is also unique & valuable. I'll definitely try to read his other works soon.
Dec 24, 2015 Holly rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays, oulipo-etc
My friend Colleen plucked this from a shelf and handed it to me after a conversation about the Oulipo movement and constraint. "If you like Calvino, you'll like this," she said. And she was right. It was a good book to read slowly and savor.

One particular surprise was Perec's account of being a paratrooper, a sort of meditation on letting go. It rang especially true since I've had a close relationship with a member of an army airborne unit.

I appreciate many Oulipo writers for their sense of min
Aug 09, 2014 Magdalena rated it it was amazing
this: "Space melts like sand running through one's fingers. Time bears it away and leaves me only shapeless shreds: To write: to try meticulously to retain something, to cause something to survive; to wrest a few precise scraps from the void as it grows, to leave somewhere a furrow, a trace, a mark or a few signs." and also this: "the world, no longer as a journey having constantly to be remade, not as a race without an end, a challenge having constantly to be met, not as the one pretext for a d ...more
Jan 13, 2008 Pamela rated it it was amazing
Comprised of lists (things to do before death), food inventories (everything ingested in 1974), vignettes about space (page, bedroom, apartment, street, country, space, etc...), and autobiographical essays with sentences that describe everyday objects and allude to 20th c. atrocity in the same breath (he was orphaned by the holocaust and never mentions it)...his emotionally reticent style and tendency to withhold & supply detail at all the wrong moments give the reader the "space" to have em ...more
Oct 30, 2014 Dario rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: free-time
Nevjerojatno se lako čita. Ali povrh svega radi se o nečemu u čemu sam se u potpunosti pronašao - detaljizirani opisi svakog (za)kutka nekog prostora. Izvrsno štivo. Meni sasvim novo, drugima mogućnost novoga.
Huelguista Moral
Otra genialidad —o boutade, que dirían algunos— de Perec que probablemente merezca cuatro estrellas, pero hoy estoy un poco rácano.
Aug 08, 2015 Inès rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La description détaillée de chaque espace dans lesquels nous vivons. Excellent pour qui aime le nouveau roman !
Tom Lobo
Feb 09, 2015 Tom Lobo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"We don't think enough about staircases. Nothing was more beautiful in old houses than the staircases."
Peter Mowris
Feb 25, 2014 Peter Mowris rated it it was amazing
Lesser known essays, just tons of fun. Read anything you can get your hands on by this guy. He is a delight.
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Who reads Perec? 6 30 Sep 28, 2015 10:25PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Can a super separate the main edition of a book? 3 30 Sep 14, 2012 12:15AM  
  • Georges Perec: A Life in Words
  • Oulipo Compendium
  • The Great Fire of London: A Story with Interpolations and Bifurcations
  • Six Memos For The Next Millennium
  • The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses
  • Styles of Radical Will
  • The Last Days
  • Journey Around My Room and a Nocturnal Expedition Around My Room (Hesperus Classics)
  • Art and Ardor
  • The Poetics of Space
  • Oulipo: A Primer of Potential Literature
  • The Production of Space
  • Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity
  • Campo Santo
  • On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection
  • Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation
  • Learning by Heart: Teachings To Free The Creative Spirit
  • For a New Novel: Essays on Fiction
Georges Perec was a highly-regarded French novelist, filmmaker and essayist. He was a member of the Oulipo group. Many of his novels and essays abound with experimental wordplay, lists and attempts at classification, and they are usually tinged with melancholy.

Perec's first novel, Les Choses (Things: A Story of the Sixties) was awarded the Prix Renaudot in 1965.

In 1978, Perec won the prix Médicis
More about Georges Perec...

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“Question your tea spoons.” 71 likes
“This is how space begins, with words only, signs traced on the blank page. To describe space: to name it, to trace it, like those portolano-makers who saturated the coastlines with the names of harbours, the names of capes, the names of inlets, until in the end the land was only separated from the sea by a continuous ribbon of text. Is the aleph, that place in Borges from which the entire world is visible simultaneously, anything other than an alphabet?” 19 likes
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