Although unfinished, the project of the member of the Oulipo still has six hundred and twelve pages, a hundred color illustrations, and weighs nearly 1.3 kg. When starting Lieux, Georges Perec had the ambition to describe 24 places in Paris, his hometown.
At a rate of two per month for twelve years, the book should have consisted of 288 texts at the end. A first half is written from the “real”, of observation on the spot and the other consists of writings of memory, according to past events, of “memories”.
Perec began in January 1969 hoping to have finished by December 1980. He held there until September 1975 after producing 133 texts that would never be published during his lifetime.
However, the author wrote to Maurice Nadeau, his publisher: “I think we will see at the same time the aging of the places, the aging of my writing, the aging of my memories.” Lieux is an incomplete work as a witness to his deep desire to suspend the course of time.
It took four years to transcribe and order all the fragments left behind by Georges Perec. Sylvia Richardson, coordinator of the project, a little cousin and beneficiary of the writer, explains that the text “wrote on very varied media: sometimes very well, other times, it was difficult to decipher, with abbreviations“.
The entirety of Lieux will be available for free online and despite a risky commercial choice Sylvia Richardson says: “The idea is to open Georges to many more readers than with a paid site. Le Seuil was convinced. I am grateful to them for making this bet. »
And to conclude with reading tips. Because you can explore Places in many ways. Either by following the thread of the texts, or by choosing a specific place or by the alphabetical index. For Richardson, “it’s really personal. I advise you to start with a place where you have memories yourself. I would like people to use it to let their own imagination run wild.“ ✪