A Void - Georges Perec

Silly: Writing a book without using our most common symbol.

Ludicrous: Translating said book from Francais to Anglais.

This is Gilbert Adair's translation of Perec's 'e'-free novel, La Disparation. It's a silly idea carried out with gusto. The lack of 'e' doesn't actually affect the readability much. Or rather, the dense writing style obfuscates the readability problems introduced by the removal of the letter. All over the place, obscure words are used, even if the common equivalent lacks 'e's! For the most part, the missing vowel does not affect the writing style, although occasionally the author descends to long lists of vowel-avoiding words.

So, that's the character selection, what about everything else? It's unashamedly a post-modern novel. The core plot's a bit naff, but it's an excuse for sub-plots, diversions, twistiness and self-reference. In places it's fun, in other tedious. It's clever, and makes an interesting journey, but in the end... ho hum.

Posted 2011-07-21.