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|Original title||La Disparition|
Published in English
|Media type||Print (Hardcover, Paperback)|
|Pages||290 pp (Eng. trans. Hardcover)|
|ISBN||0-00-271119-2 (Eng. trans. Hardcover)|
A Void, translated from the original French La Disparition (lit. "The Disappearance"), is a 300-page French lipogrammatic novel, written in 1969 by Georges Perec, entirely without using the letter e, following Oulipo constraints.
It was translated into English by Gilbert Adair, with the title A Void, for which he won the Scott Moncrieff Prize in 1995. Three other English translations are titled A Vanishing by Ian Monk, Vanish'd! by John Lee, and Omissions by Julian West.
All translators have imposed upon themselves a similar lipogrammatic constraint to the original, avoiding the most commonly used letter of the alphabet. This precludes the use of words normally considered essential such as je ("I"), et ("and"), and le (masculine "the") in French, as well as "me", "be", and "the" in English. The Spanish version contains no a, which is the second most commonly used letter in the Spanish language (first being e), while the Russian version contains no о. The Japanese version does not use syllables containing the sound "i" (い, き, し, etc.) at all.
|German||Eugen Helmlé||Anton Voyls Fortgang||1986|
|Italian||Piero Falchetta||La scomparsa||1995|
|Spanish||Hermès Salceda||El secuestro||1997|
|Russian||Valeriy Kislow||Исчезание [Ischezanie]||2005|
|Dutch||Guido van de Wiel||'t Manco||2009|
|Japanese||Shuichirou Shiotsuka||煙滅 [Emmetsu]||2010|
|Portuguese||José Roberto "Zéfere" Andrades Féres||O Sumiço||2016|
|Catalan||Adrià Pujol Cruells||L'eclipsi||2017|
A Void's plot follows a group of individuals looking for a missing companion, Anton Vowl. It is in part a parody of noir and horror fiction, with many stylistic tricks, gags, plot twists, and a grim conclusion. On many occasions it implicitly talks about its own lipogrammatic limitation, highlighting its unusual syntax. A Void's protagonists finally work out which symbol is missing, but find it a hazardous topic to discuss, as any who try to bypass this story's constraint risk dying. Philip Howard, writing a lipogrammatic appraisal of A Void in his column Lost Words, said "This is a story chock-full of plots and sub-plots, of loops within loops, of trails in pursuit of trails, all of which allow its author an opportunity to display his customary virtuosity as an avant-gardist magician, acrobat and clown."
Both of Georges Perec's parents perished in World War II: his father as a soldier and his mother in the Holocaust. He was brought up by his aunt and uncle after surviving the war. Warren Motte interprets the absence of the letter e in the book as a metaphor for Perec's own sense of loss and incompleteness:
The absence of a sign is always the sign of an absence, and the absence of the E in A Void announces a broader, cannily coded discourse on loss, catastrophe, and mourning. Perec cannot say the words père ["father"], mère ["mother"], parents ["parents"], famille ["family"] in his novel, nor can he write the name Georges Perec. In short, each "void" in the novel is abundantly furnished with meaning, and each points toward the existential void that Perec grappled with throughout his youth and early adulthood. A strange and compelling parable of survival becomes apparent in the novel, too, if one is willing to reflect on the struggles of a Holocaust orphan trying to make sense out of absence, and those of a young writer who has chosen to do without the letter that is the beginning and end of écriture ["writing"].
- Georges Perec (1969). La disparition. Gallimard. ISBN 2-07-071523-X.
- Georges Perec, Gilbert Adair (translator) (1994). A Void (paperback). The Harvill Press. ISBN 1-86046-098-4.
- Georges Perec, Gilbert Adair (translator) (1994). A Void (hardcover). The Harvill Press. ISBN 0-00-271119-2.
- Georges Perec, Eugen Helmlé (translator) (1991). Anton Voyls Fortgang. ISBN 3-499-12857-8.
- Georges Perec, Cemal Yardımcı (translator) (April 2013). Kayboluş. ISBN 978-975-539-472-5.
- Georges Perec, Guido van de Wiel (translator) (2009). 't Manco. De Arbeiderspers. ISBN 978-90-295-6766-4.
- Georges Perec (1997). El secuestro. Anagrama. ISBN 978-84-339-0836-0.
- Georges Perec, Valéry Kislov (translator), Istchezanie, Ivan Limbakh publisher, 2004, ISBN 5-89059-060-X
- Georges Perec, Gilbert Adair (translator) (2005). A Void (paperback). David R. Godine, Publisher. ISBN 978-1-56792-296-7.
- "List of prize winners at the Society of Authors website". Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
- Levin Becker, Daniel (2012). Many subtle channels : in praise of potential literature. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-06962-6. OCLC 794004240.
- Bensimon, Paul; français, Centre de recherches en traduction et stylistique comparée de l'anglais et du (1995). La lecture du texte traduit (in French). Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle. ISBN 978-2-87854-098-7.
- Enjeux du jeu de mots : Perspectives linguistiques et littéraires. Esme Winter-Froemel, Angelika Zirker. Berlin/Boston. 2015. ISBN 978-3-11-040834-8. OCLC 1013955053.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "Reading Georges Perec". Context. Dalkey Archive Press (11). Retrieved July 28, 2014.
- Bibliography of secondary works on La Disparition
- Brief excerpt from the Adair translation
- Preface in French
- Review by Danny Yee
- News about the Turkish translation
- https://web.archive.org/web/20130124122327/http://magazines.russ.ru/nlo/2010/106/ about translation in Russian
- Collection of book covers for translations of La Disparition