Three By Perec
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Three By Perec

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  98 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Perec has rightfully assumed his position in the pantheon of truly original writers of the past century. Godine has issued all but one of is his books in this country, including his masterpiece Life, A User's Manual. Here, in one volume, are three "easy pieces" by the master of the verbal firecracker and Gallic wit. The novella "The Exeter Text" contains all those e's that...more
Paperback, 179 pages
Published April 1996 by D.R. Godine
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Glenn Russell
Three by Perec is a collection of three novellas written by the outstanding French novelist Georges Perec, translated by Ian Monk, and published David R. Godine. For the purposes of this review I will focus on the first novella in the collection, `Which Moped with Chome-plated Handlebars at the Back of the Yard?'

For those who are unfamiliar with Georges Perec (1936-1982), he is one of the most amazing writers of the 20th century, author of 'A Void', a 300 page novel written without using the let...more
Adam Floridia
"Which Moped with Chrome-Plated Handlebars at the Back of the Yard": 5/5 stars.
How could anyone who reveres rhetoric, loves language, and wallows gloriously in word games not take heart in this terse tale? This short story might madden anybody who willfully gainsays word games, loathes language, and reviles rhetoric. It's a story that has words and a heart. The heart, or deeper meaning, lies behind (or within or simultaneously both or neither at the same time)the words which tell (or are) the s...more
Perec-lite, Three consists of three novellas or short stories, including The Exeter Text, which is where all the stray E's absent from La Disparition (A Void) ended up, as it's the only vowel employed. Perec gets around the limitation through ever more creative misspellings, and certain concessions Oulipo granted him. Its remarkable in its way, but still becomes rather tedious after a while.

The Exeter Text is the second story. The volume begins with Which Moped with Chrome Plated Handlebars at...more
Reading Perec is like attending a college classroom. With one major difference: you really have to give yourself in, not because you have an exam but because you really don't want to miss anything.

This is a very clever book and it is not for everybody, some readers may find it unreadable especially when they hit the second story. Nevertheless I enjoyed reading this.

Cooper Cooper
Three contains three novellas by French experimentalist Georges Perec, who died in 1982 at age 46. The novellas are: The Exeter Text: Jewels, Secrets, Sex (1972); A Gallery Portrait (1979); and Which Moped with Chrome-plated Handlebars at the Back of the Yard? (1966). These are so-called “ludic” novellas, to distinguish them from more serious works such as Things and (his masterpiece) Life A Users Manual. Perec experimented with writing to rigid rules: for example, writing an entire novel (The...more
The first novella, Which Moped with Chrome Plated Handlebars at the Back of the Yard was written before Perec joined the Oulipo, but it is still a work that is in love with wordplay. The story is about a group of recruits who try to help a colleague get out of the draft by drugging him and having him fake madness. It's kind of a dark story, but is as much about wordplay and linguistic exuberance as it is about the story.

The second, The Exeter Text: Jewels, Secrets, Sex, is a companion to Perec's...more
The Exeter Text: Jewels, Secrets, Sex
So, this is basically what I'd expected all those years ago from A Void before finding a many-layered piece of greatness: a goofy romp where the conceit would eventually have to give way to still-admirable bendings of the rules. There's that here, and some silly little jewel-heist plot with a 20 page orgy in a church to distract from the robbery, and then a bunch of characters who are indistinguishable. Fun, but slight.

Which Moped With Chrome-Pl...more
David R.  Godine
"Perec's artistry has achieved a perfect balance between allure and imponderability."
—Richard Eder, LA Times

"One of the most singular literary personalities in the world."
—Italo Calvino

"Astonishingly rendered into English."
—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

"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 trans...more
Brent Legault
Mar 13, 2008 Brent Legault rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: funsters, pleasure puppies
When you have an anthology it's inevitable that you'll want to compare, favorably or otherwise, one piece to another to another etc. So there are good things and bad things here but mostly good things. You have to like to have a bit of fun to enjoy Perec in full. You have to practice your wry smile. Perec will give you plenty of opportunity to do so.

And do you mind if I gush about The Harvill Press? God, I love the way their books look. I wish I could find more of them here in The States. They a...more
Neil P
the story of a group of men desperately planning to save their friend from conscription to the Algerian war is wonderful - for me demonstrating how Georges Perec can write a rivetting piece of fiction with all of his styistic flair. The other two perambulate and masturbate with words and style = not really bedtime reading even for me (and I love linguistics)
out of the three short stories (which are also very good), i was drawn primarily to the exeter text because it boasts the author's genius and sense of humour. the only vowel used in this short story is 'e'. i was thoroughly entertained by its clever and witty words, wordplay and creative spelling. entertaining, indeed.
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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
More about Georges Perec...
Life: A User's Manual A Void Species of Spaces and Other Pieces W, or the Memory of Childhood Things: A Story of the Sixties; A Man Asleep

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