A feature by Daniel Levin Becker
The formal resemblances between Édouard Levé's Works and Georges Perec's I Remember pale away compared to their spiritual perpendicularities: one is an assemblage of purportedly original things that do not yet exist, the other a motley litany of things that once existed but never truly belonged to anyone; one is a series of ideas abandoned at the moment before they crystallize, the other a series of memory-points that exist to be shared and collectively reified. Perec had none of Levé’s impulse toward detachment; the questing in his work was driven by his interest, on some level a desperate one, in the way people could be objectively united in their subjective experiences of time and place, even if they shared neither. Whereas Levé was fascinated by people from a remove, Perec wrote in enormous part to remind himself that he was one of them . . .