Guide Learning to Live: A Users Manual

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Luc Ferry. Publisher: Canongate Books , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title hard to find "synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Learning Live Users Manual by Luc Ferry

Review : "In this philosophical survival kit, the reader will find brilliant ideas to help them think better, if not live better. Buy New Learn more about this copy. About AbeBooks. Customers who bought this item also bought. Stock Image.

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Published by Canongate Books Ltd New Paperback Quantity Available: 1. Revaluation Books Exeter, United Kingdom. Seller Rating:. Published by Canongate Books New Paperback Quantity Available: 2. Published by Canongate Books. New Paperback Quantity Available: 3. Sometimes normal, sometimes bonkers he does so on the shiniest of silver platters. View all 10 comments. Another example of one of those rare works that seemingly contain Everything, Life does not lend itself to brief summation.

Like one of those tiny foam dinosaurs that grow to a humongous size when soaked in water is that really the best simile I can come up with? Just look at the appendices. Hundreds of characters, over hundreds of years, hundreds of stories, hundreds of interconnections, all planned down to the centimete Another example of one of those rare works that seemingly contain Everything, Life does not lend itself to brief summation.

Hundreds of characters, over hundreds of years, hundreds of stories, hundreds of interconnections, all planned down to the centimeter using these constraints.

If Perec wrote no other book than this he would deservedly be considered a genius. Last half of the 20th century? Or not. But there is an entire world come to life in these pages, heavily populated, intricate, seething, over-full, all generated from the minute exploration of the individual living quarters in an apartment building on a fictional street in Paris.

A scene begins with the camera focused very closely on one or two subjects or objects, and then is slowly pulled back, maintaining a deep-field focus, deliberately and quietly minimizing the subjects within the frame of the screen, showing the size and composition of the world in which they are contained. There is a similar literary strategy at play in Life. Chapters usually begin with a few paragraphs describing in great detail objects in a particular room- paintings, furniture, appliances, clothing, knick-knacks, etc. The feeling evoked is similar in Barry Lyndon and Life , the tight focus on minutiae and then the slow revealing of its place in an immense story.

Though there is a crucial difference. So much of this book is lists of objects, beautifully described. Keepsakes of our affinities. Objects, whose arrangement in our lives is like the finger trace left in a film of dust on an old desk, the proof we came this way, did this or that. These can be things as simple as our socks and old photographs, souvenirs of voyages, or as complex as novels we write, the family trees we form a branch of. The way we arrange objects, and the objects we choose to keep around us, speak volumes of our interior lives.

These lists of objects that make up so much of Life are the great part the characterizations of the people who make up this book. But lists of objects work in another way, too. Lists draw attention only to themselves. They leave the signifier untouched by a narrative purpose. Purposeless, they speak to the meaning of the word as it is written, and give only that meaning.

By serving no purpose in a narrative, an object of pure description survives the various ways a story can be dragged into oblivion by the words employed in its telling. It is the thing itself. A book made up of lists is therefore an undying book, giving meaning only in and of itself and the objects it names. A book of nothings and everythings; of things immobile as well as lives unfurling. Life is such a generous book, it gives so much, its complexities always yielding to some basic joy, its ironies giving insights, its tragedies so beautiful, its mysteries so delightful, its intelligence steeped in playfulness, its erudition serving such human ends.

Another infinite novel. The very idea of the picture he planned to do and whose laid-out, broken-up images had begun to haunt every second of his life, furnishing his dreams, squeezing his memories, the very idea of this shattered building laying bare the cracks of its past, the crumbling of the present, this unordered amassing of stories grandiose and trivial, frivolous and pathetic, gave him the impression of a grotesque mausoleum raised in the memory of companions petrified in terminal postures as insignificant in their solemnity as they were in their ordinariness, as if he had wanted both to warn of and to delay these slow or quick deaths which seemed to be engulfing the entire building storey by storey.

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Dec 23, Stacy rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: anyone with a pulse and a smidgen of curiosity and intelligence about the world. View all 5 comments. By about page , this was firmly in my top 10 fave books. By the end, it seemed to me like a clear-cut canonical biggie eg, Moby Dick, Infinite Jest, , Ulysses , but better natured than these -- also, it didn't seem like much of a chip was trying to be knocked off the authorial shoulder.

Joyce took on Shakespeare, DFW tried to depose the postmodernist phallocracy, but Perec seems more at peace.

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It's like Beckett's sucking stones section in Molloy: elaborate, infinitely detailed processes By about page , this was firmly in my top 10 fave books. It's like Beckett's sucking stones section in Molloy: elaborate, infinitely detailed processes eventually reduced to nothing, but not with semi-suspicious "creative writing " poignancy -- here it's a celebration of the word in this book's title. Not much dialogue, mostly summarized scenes, short chapters, stories within stories within stories, a cast of hundreds. The Bartlebooth section, even if published alone, probably would have won the author the Nobel Prize if he'd lived into his sixties.

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Highly recommended to people who like to read, especially those readers into towering literary artistry ie, audacious, original, extraordinarily well-executed, life-affirming, good-natured, inspiring masterpieces. View all 9 comments. Aug 19, Mala rated it it was amazing Shelves: all-time-favourites , post-modern-fiction , brain-pain-group-read. An offbeat, quirky tale, its cumulative effect is staggering!

An Oulipian Marvel— Perec has created here an intriguing puzzle— written under constraints , it's a fitting tribute to Raymond Queneau, the grand master of the Oulipian school of writing. Each room is assigned to a chapter, and the order of the chapters is given by the knight's moves on the grid. The latter calls for an active author-reader relationship—the epigraph taken from Jules Verne, says: "Look with all your eyes, look", 'cause "every move the puzzler makes, the puzzle-maker has made before; every piece the puzzler picks up, and picks up again, and studies and strokes, every combination he tries, and tries a second time, every blunder and every insight, each hope and each discouragement have all been designed, calculated, and decided by the other.

According to Perec, the novel was partly inspired by a Saul Steinberg drawing of a New York rooming house with its facade removed The map provided in the book obscures as much as it reveals,for its erasure of the wall divisions within each apartment belies the fact that the building has a total of hundred rooms.

Its elongated, rectangular form also disguises another crucial aspect of the book's architecture: when made square and superimposed upon the rectilinear grid of an architectural floor plan, Perec's original plan begins to resemble an enlarged ten-by-ten chessboard. While the knight's tour is mapped out for the reader The very idea of the picture he planned to do and whose laid-out, broken-up images had begun to haunt every second of his life, furnishing his dreams, squeezing his memories, the very idea of this shattered building laying bare the cracks of its past, the crumbling of its present, this unordered amassing of stories grandiose and trivial, frivolous and pathetic, gave him the impression of a grotesque mausoleum raised in the memory of companions petrified in terminal postures as insignificant in their solemnity as they were in their ordinariness, as if he had wanted both to warn of and to delay these slow or quick deaths which seemed to be engulfing the entire building storey by storey.

Objects, objects everywhere, not a clue to be seen! Sometimes, the objects are like bread crumbs leaving a trail which might as well turn out to be a false one! A Faustian Bargain — Perec could've called Bartlebooth, Ahab, but that would've been too obvious- he settled for Bartle by booth. France, along with most of Europe, was torn asunder by that world war, split between the resistors, the collaborators, and the the not-sure-what-to-dos.

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In , these survivors and the effects of those years were still fresh enough to account for the atmosphere found at 11 Rue Simon-Crubellier. And so there is a certain pall that hung over the France of those years, and though Perec might not emphasize it too directly, there's no way his work or his characters can escape the reality of those times. There is a gravity in Perec that comes from a deep and heavy place.


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I don't want to project too much, but the general scarcity of joyous and humorous moments and silver linings and so on must have history as its source. In my edition, there is a short disclaimer from Perec right after the Contents that reads: "Friendship, history, and literature have supplied me with some of the characters of this book.