From the author of Life A User’s Manual comes an equally mind-bending novel, W or The Memory of Childhood, a narrative that reflects a great writer’s effort to come to terms with his childhood and his part in the Nazi occupation of France.
Perec tells two parallel stories. The first is autobiographical, describing his wartime boyhood. The second tale, denser, more disturbing, more horrifying, is the allegorical story of W, a mythical island off Tierra del Fuego governed by the thrall of the Olympic “ideal,” where losers are tortured and winners held in temporary idolatry. As the reader soon discovers, W is a place where “it is more important to be lucky than to be deserving,” and “you have to fight to live…no recourse, no mercy, no salvation, not even any hope that time will sort things out.”
Perec’s interpretive vision of the Holocaust is an astonishing achievement.