Das Leben. Gebrauchsanweisung

I seem to become a kind of blog-vampyre. Again one of my posts sucks his energy directly from one of XL’s posts, his 24 Year Puzzle.
Looking at his cats and reading about a puzzle that took 24 years to complete I was reminded of Geoges PEREC (Ger., Eng.) (1936-1982) and his novel La Vie mode d’emploi. The German edition Das Leben. Gebrauchsanweisung (Ger., Eng.) – in front of me lies the 2nd edition Frankfurt am Main May 1982, 6.-10th thousand, translated by Eugen HELMLÈ (Ger.) – came not only in a Schuber with a black tie and an image of PEREC, but also with a puzzle. 97 pieces. It shows the inside of a Parisian house, possibly Rue Simon-Crubellier 11. The 99 chapters of the novel describe all rooms of this house, the inhabitants, their connections. It is possible to read this book from any point, it is not necessary to start from page one.
An Englishman named Bartlebooth creates a masterplan. For ten years he learns the fine art of watercolouring (Aquarellmalerei; Ger., Eng.) from the painter Valène. Then he goes on a world travel for twenty years, painting 500 watercolours of harbour scenes, or Seestücke. These sheets are sent to Rue Simon-Crubellier 11, where Gaspard Winckler backs the paper sheets on a wooden board and produces a puzzle from this. Back from his travels Bartlebooth completes the puzzle, and Georges Morellet fixes with a special solution the paper together so that it can be detached or removed from the wood again. The painting then is brought back to the place where it was painted, and exactly twenty years after, it will be immersed into sea water; after the colours are washed out a white sheet of paper remains that only shows vague traces of the paint and the solving and binding, solve et coagula. It is to be sent back to Rue Simon-Crubellier 11.
Bartlebooth’s plan does not work. Winckler’s puzzles become more and more difficult, and Bartlebooth’s eyesight worsens. He dies on the 23rd of June 1975 over the 439th puzzle, 16 month behind schedule.

*

Buch Nummer 10101
Buch Nummer 10101

*

Das Puzzle
Das Puzzle

*

Monsieur PEREC
Monsieur PEREC

*

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Das Leben. Gebrauchsanweisung

  1. I would love to spend 20 years traveling the world to see beautiful harbors. Of course, I’d take pictures instead of painting them–saving me a lot of time and embarrassment, as my painting skills are nonexistent.

  2. I will, Rätsel LX, and of course I will show the result.

    Yes, I too could do with a little travelling now, Eroswings – unfortunately it will be armchair travelling for some time to come …

    So you are an outdoor puzzler – I should have known, Norma !

    The paint will be washed out, the reconstructed paper will be brought back to Paris Sonntagsschaum. Full circle, no traces – or only very small. An etude in vanishing. And of course with all possible relations, solve et coagula , binden und lösen etc.pp.

  3. I think first for a very practical reason – the colours must be washed out.
    And of course the sea as the Urgrund, the starting point of all existence, the “Urozean” from where all live comes and to where all live goes back, okeanos.

  4. This is one of those strange European things I cannot relate too. It’s just silly to “wash it away” in the salt water after twenty years. I dated men from many countries, but never French. Their taste for drama only annoys me.

Comments are closed.