Perec's autobiography and writing workshop in one, Lieux is a collection of Perec’s texts about "his" Paris written 1969 and 1975. It has sold 11,000 copies in France. Rights have been sold for five languages.
Half a century after its writing, Le Seuil published this unfinished Perec project devoted to places in Paris that were important in his life. A literary adventure that appeals not only to Perec connoisseurs but also Paris lovers and all those who seek to capture the soul of a place.
"Everyday happenings, things that happen every day, the banal, the obvious, the common, the ordinary, the infra-ordinary, background noise, the usual; how do we recognize them, question them, describe them?" Perec asked himself these questions in his collection of texts: L’infra-ordinaire. It was in Lieux that he answered them: "Lieux is an idea he never finished. One that Perec himself described as quite monstrous and quite exhilarating. He identified twelve places in Paris that were linked to important personal events, rue Vilin in Belleville, for example where he spent his early childhood. He then dedicated texts to each of them, first by going back to the locations and noting what he saw ‘in the most neutral way possible’ and then a second text would come out of his memory of the place and his description of the place from memory, writing what he remembered," explains Sophie Tarneaud, Publisher and Social Sciences Editorial Coordinator at Éditions du Seuil.
The result is a 608-page book rich with documentation, photos, maps, letters, notes, drawings, as well as invoices, ticket stubs, café receipts all in black and white or color.
With 11,000 copies sold, this book was extremely well received in France where it was described as "colossal" and "a wonderful dive into Perec's writing workshop". "To help encourage foreign publishers to take on such a large undertaking, I would like to point out that we have non-exclusive worldwide rights to all the elements in the work, not to mention a spectacular press kit and impressive sales figures," explains Maria Vlachou, director of rights at Le Seuil. "I usually add that this book is a bountiful emotional autobiography. There is one question which quickly draws publishers in: How many of his memories are still dormant in the streets of Paris? »
Translation rights have been sold for five languages: Spanish (Anagrama), Catalan (Enciclopèdia catalana), Italian (La Nave di Teseo), Korean (Les Mots) and Turkish (Ketebe). Japanese language rights are in negotiation.