When I began reading Words Without Borders some years ago my first reaction was always “who the hell are these people?” – the writers, that is, all these authors I'd never heard of. Well my mother always said a stranger is just someone you don't know yet, but we all know sometimes you need someone to make the introductions. Words Without Borders does that nicely, actually, but I think too that the most trusted voices in literature are the great authors we love; so with that we are introducing “Classics in Translation” at Words Without Borders where we will focus on great authors in hopes that they create a bridge to other authors coming now into English.
To kick things off, we're featuring pieces by and about Georges Perec, the great and ambitious French writer best known to many of us for his work Life A User's Manual originally published in 1978, translated into English in 1987 by David Bellos.
Fans of the original or those who have yet to read “Life” will be delighted to know that Perec's U.S. publisher, David R. Godine, recently released a new version, taking into account twenty years of Perec scholarship, corrections and the inclusion of a paragraph that was missing from the final chapter.
To commemorate the new edition and to kick off our “Classics in Translation” series we're going to give away three copies of this new, definitive edition of Life A Users Manual. We'll be weaving in Perec posts from now until the end of the month. We encourage you to leave thoughtful comments* and we'll choose randomly from those comments and notify the winners.
To win, thoughtful (anything but the gratuitous) comments can be left on any post from now to the end of the month.