I Remember by Georges Perec

I Remember by Georges Perec

French Memoir

Original title – Je Me souviens

Translator – Philip Terry (with notes and Intro by David Bellos)

Source – personal copy

When I saw Gallic was bringing this out on the newish imprint Gallic Editions which has classic french lit. I decide I try this and have the JMG Le Le Clezio. I have featured Georges Perec three times on the blog and am working through his lesser-known books I initially reviewed Life a user manual which I reviewed alongside an art show inspired by his work.  Since then, he has featured his lost debut novel and a short novella. This is a collection of Aphorisms originally published as weekly pieces in Les Cashiers du Chemin between 1973 and 1977.

I remember that at the end of the war, my cousin Henri and I marked the advance of the allied armies with little flags bearing the names of the generals commanding the armies or the army corp. I’ve forgotten the names of almost all of these generals (BradleymPatton, Zhukov,etc.)But I remember the name of General De Larminat.

I remember thsat Michel Legrand make his debut under the name of “Big Mike”

I remember that a 400-meter spriotner was caught stealing in the cloakrooms of a sport stadium(and that , to avoid going to prison.He had to sign up for Indochina)

I remember the day Japan capitulated

I remember a piece by Earl Bostic that was called “Flamingo”

Here is a selction of them personal distant memoires and the war ending.

This is a selection of memories there is no real order it is just single aphorisms that all start with the two words I remember from personal insights such as his cousin Henri, A number of post-war memories like the yellow bread that France had immediately after the war, scarves made from Parachute silk. Then cultural references radio shows even crystal radio sets, actress in films, jazz performers. Sport a number of cyclists mentioned. What builds as Perec remembers and that isn’t the big things just no those little things make this an interesting insight into the man I’ve always been a fan of lists of peoples favourite films books etc and things like Desert island disc the little things that make us what we are and here we have lots of little crumbs of Perec’s life and loves. It is an interesting insight the 480 pieces build into a history of him as a person.

I remember that in the jungle book, Bagheera is the panther, Mowgli the boy, and Bandar Log the monkey (But what are the names of the bear and snake!)

I remember that Fausto Coppi had a lady friend called “The Woman in White”

I remember a cheese called “La Vache Serieuse”(“La Vache qui rit” took the manufacturers to court and won).

I remember a Mexican comic actor called Cantinflas(I think he was the one who played Passepartout in Around the world in Eighty days).

I remembrer the swimmer Alex Jany

I remember jaacques Duclos’ pigeons.I remember that Jean-Paul Satre worked on the script of John Huston’s Freud.

I felt a connection here I love cycling and I have read Satres Freud script I have to review it some day soon.

 

This was inspired in part by the American painter Joe Brainard who also wrote a number of a different list like this of aphorisms called I remember. He has a huge fan in Paul Auster and I was reminded of Auster story Augie march which got made in part to the film smoke which he took a picture each day which like this list seems not a lot but when you slowly work through the list it makes a picture of Perec and thee sort of chap he was. I feel it is like a collage of the man especially what he like listening to those old radio talent shows, certain French singers. Another work inspired by this work was Edouard Leve’s Autoportrait another series of Aphorisms that builds a picture of a writer. This is a nice collection of a writer that I for one have found fascinating over the years. Have you read this book?

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kaggsysbookishramblings
    May 29, 2020 @ 19:09:12

    I’m hoping to be reading and writing about this one soon, Stu – very excited, because I love Perec!

    Reply

  2. TravellinPenguin
    May 30, 2020 @ 02:23:48

    I’ve not read Perec so thank you for the introduction. I went to Belgravia books web page hoping they’d have a newsletter. Their travel writing section is wonderful and I did sign up as they do have a newsletter so thank you very much. I hope you and yours are all staying well, over there. All the best.

    Reply

  3. Lisa Hill
    May 30, 2020 @ 04:16:18

    This sounds great, and I do love that cover.

    Reply

  4. Trackback: That was the months that was May/June 2020 | Winstonsdad's Blog

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