Today’s classic for Throwback Thursday is a weird one, but Perec’s chutzpah is off the scale here: A Void is a book entirely without the letter ‘E’.*
Perec was part of a literary movement called Oulipo – a bunch of writers who hung around Paris coming up with implausible writing challenges. For Perec, that challenge was to write a book without the letter ‘E’.
You’re intrigued, right? What surprised me most about this book though, was just how readable it was. Yeah, I mean some of it goes round the houses a bit, but nothing like Joyce (or even Pynchon for that matter). Here, just take a look:
See? It’s decent, right?
The story itself is about the disappearance of Anton Vowl, who’s friends are looking for him following clues he’s left in his diary. As the plot thickens, Anton’s friends also begin to disappear…
In the end it’s a good old fashioned pulp fiction-like detective novel. And all the better for it. If you’re after expanding your horizons, then I recommend this.
*I know!! What makes it more amazing is that he wrote it in French – pity the poor translator that had to put his words into English.