Life A User's Manual cover

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Life A User's Manual

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Life: A User's Manual (the original title is La Vie mode d'emploi) is Georges Perec's most famous novel, published in 1978, first translated into English by David Bellos in 1987. Its title page describes it as "novels", in the plural, the reasons for which become apparent on reading. Some critics have cited the work as an example of postmodern fiction, though Perec himself preferred to avoid labels and his only long term affiliation with any movement was with the Oulipo or OUvroir de LIttérature POtentielle. La Vie mode d'emploi is a tapestry of interwoven stories and ideas as well as literary and historical allusions, based on the lives of the inhabitants of a fictitious Parisian apartment block, 11 rue Simon-Crubellier (no such street exists, although the quadrangle Perec claims Simon-Crubellier cuts through does exist in Paris XVII arrondissement). It was written according to a complex plan of writing constraints, and is primarily constructed from several elements, each adding a layer of complexity.
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original title: La Vie mode d'emploi
date of publication: 1978
genre: novel
narrative location: Paris

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