La Boutique Obscure
â€śTo read Georges Perec one must be ready to abandon oneself to a spirit of play. His books are studded with intellectual traps, allusions and secret systems, and .â€†.â€†. they are prodigiously entertaining.â€ť â€”Paul Auster
The beguiling, never-before-translated dream diary of Georges Perec …
InÂ La Boutique ObscureÂ Perec once again revolutionized literary form, creating the worldâ€™s first â€śnocturnal autobiography.â€ť From 1968 until 1972 — the period when he wrote his most well-known works — the beloved French stylist recorded his dreams. But as you might expect, his approach was far from orthodox.
Avoiding the hazy psychoanalysis of most dream journals, he challenged himself to translate his visions and subconscious churnings directly into prose. In laying down the nonsensical leaps of the imagination, he finds new waysÂ â€¨to express the texture and ambiguity of dreams — those qualities that proveÂ â€¨so elusive.
Beyond capturing a universal experience for the first time and being a fine document of literary invention,Â La Boutique ObscureÂ contains the seeds of some of Perecâ€™s most famous books. It is also an intimate portrait of one of the great innovators of modern literature.
— Read an excerpt in theÂ New York Review of Books —
— Read an excerpt inÂ Tin House —
— Listen to the translator, Daniel Levin Becker, discuss La Boutique Obscure on KALW’sÂ West Coast Live —
”In page after page of banal weirdness, Perec is … daring us to think … that dreams may in fact be fragments of an ongoing story that will never end, as long as we keep revisiting and re-writing it every night.”—HazlittÂ onÂ Georges Perec’sÂ La Boutique Obscure
”Siri Hustvedtâ€™sÂ favorite books of the year were fiction and memoir, those genres most preoccupied with â€śparticular livesâ€ť: the novels â€śThe Chemistry of Tears,â€ť by Peter Carey, and â€śGone to the Forest,â€ť by Katie Kitamura; Salman Rushdieâ€™s account of life under the fatwa, â€śJoseph Anton,â€ť and a new translation ofÂ Georges Perecâ€™s dream diary, â€śLa Boutique Obscure.â€ťÂ â€” The New York Times Book Review, â€ťUp Front,â€ť December 28, 2012
â€ťThe book captivatesâ€¦occasionally Perecâ€™s dreaming mind alights on an image that condenses the pathos of an entire life.â€ť â€”Â The Rumpus
â€ťThese may have been real dreams, but they feel like moreâ€¦.This is the readerâ€™s reward: watching Perecâ€™s mind weaving metaphor and story even while asleep.â€ť â€”Â Publisherâ€™s Weekly (starred review)
â€ťPerec was a master of language and its usageâ€¦[La Boutique Obscure is] a chance to get beneath the shell of Perecâ€™s formal systems and probe the soft pale body of the man himself.â€ťâ€”Art Review
â€śIf you let it, the bundled text of dreams provides insight into [Perec's] most influential work â€¦ Daniel Levin Becker rises and meets the challenge of honoring Perecâ€™s intuition.â€ť â€”Â Library JournalÂ (editorâ€™s pick)
â€śLa Boutique ObscureÂ â€¦ is a work of considerable breadth and variety, and much of it is good fun, too. Any new bit of Pereciana is welcome, and fans will certainly appreciate and enjoyÂ La Boutique Obscure.â€ť â€”Â The Complete Review
â€ťIf any dream diary is an invitation to interpretation, Perecâ€™s is doubly so.â€ť â€”Berfrois
â€ťThe play between constraint and freedom is constantly at workâ€¦Art does not come out of the constraints themselves, but of the vital and painful clash between control and chaos.â€ť â€”Los Angeles Review of Books
â€śPerecâ€™s artistry has achieved a perfect balance between allure and imponderability.â€ťÂ â€”The Los Angeles Times
â€śOne of the most singular literary personalities in the world, a writer who resembled absolutely no one else.â€ťÂ â€”Italo Calvino
â€śThe genius of Perec [is] to marry a deeply humane melancholy with dazzling formal experiments.â€ť â€”The Guardian
â€śFor as long as people write by his rules, or read his work anew, his contribution to literature and to life will remain loving and vital.â€ť â€”The Telegraph
â€śFiendishly clever.â€ťÂ â€”Times Literary Supplement