Christina's Reviews > Life: A User's Manual

Life by Georges Perec
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's review
Dec 11, 07

bookshelves: 2007, fiction, 1001-books-2006-edition, favourites, 1001-books-2008-edition, 1001-books-2010-edition, 1001-books-combined-edition, library
Recommended for: not everyone!
Read in December, 2007

Now, I loved this book so why don't I recommend it to everyone? Let me try to tell you - this is a book about the people who live (or have lived) in an appartment building in Paris in the 20th century. Their lives and stories twist and tangle and intertwine and breaks up again. Every part of the book is valued equal - that means, that a chaper can be a list of objects found on the staircase and another - just as important! - chapter can be the story of how the daughter of one of the residents got murdered, who did it and why.
One of these stories that goes through the entire book is about Bartlebooth and his puzzles and the book talks quite a bit about how a piece relates to the whole puzzle - for me, this picture is both about how single events in a person's life relates to the whole life but in some ways also how these persons relate to the building. Their lives overlap and influence each other in ways so that not one person is the same after having lived in that building.
And neither is the reader who finishes this magnificent book. I loved it - but I'm still thinking about why... It's not plot driven in any way, the only thing uniting these stories is they take place in the building or in the lives of people who have lived there. I finished it little more than a week and I didn't know much about it when I started so I spend the first couple of days wondering what was going on - and then I just enjoyed it, enjoyed reading about which pictures was on the wall, which recipe the doctor wants named after him, how the appartments changed over time with walls being knocked down to accomodate new needs etc.
It's a story about all the little details that make up life and the surroundings we live it in and just as it all matters equally, nothing of it really matters in the end.
But it's a beautiful book!
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan Christina, I'm looking forward to your review. This book is on my to-read list. Eager to hear what you have to say; I do notice your 5 star rating. Thanks. Lisa

message 2: by Christina (last edited Dec 11, 2007 01:34PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Christina Lisa, I loved the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. Been thinking a lot about it after finishing it. /Christina

message 3: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan Christina, Thanks for the review. It looks terrific and it is staying on my to- read list. I do want to read this, and your review was very helpful.

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