30th
Oct
2009

Thomas Riggs & Co.: Who’s Reading Georges Perec?

Posted by thomasriggs

Who’s Reading Georges Perec?

The blog Cafebook recently discussed Georges Perec (1936-1982), one of the most innovative French writers of recent times. I live much of the year in Nice, so after I read the post, I walked down the street to Fnac and picked up his short novel Les Choses (Things, 1965). As I soon found out, it’s a book best read on a couch when the air is warm and the wind is blowing gently through a window and when there’s nothing better to do than ponder big ideas—in this case, youth and freedom and the curious pull toward security, comfort, and beautiful objects.

Why read this book? It’s intellectual without being pretentious. It talks about serious ideas, though in a simple, fascinating story. It takes place in the 1960s but is concerned with something interesting to think about during today’s global economic downturn—the culture of consumption.

I was grateful to Cafebook, written by Emma Zucchi, for talking about Perec, who died of lung cancer at the age of 45. Les Choses, his first book, was a big success in France and translated into numerous languages.

In the United States Perec has a loyal following, and the translated version, Things, is published by David R. Godine. In this era of best sellers and declining midlists, it’s great to see a foreign writer continue to fascinate Americans. Thanks, Godine, for publishing Things!

Thomas Riggs
Thomas Riggs & Company
Missoula, Montana

From Thomas Riggs & Co. Blog: www.thomasriggs.net/blog