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on 25 January 2001
Originally commissioned by his architect friend, Species of Spaces is a meditation on the spaces which we occupy and the ways in which we order them. Forming the main section of this book, it is also one of its highlights: original, informed and often witty. It's a piece which takes a fresh look at what surrounds us, offering a refreshing perspective on how we live. The rest of the book is taken up with a collection of pieces ranging from the autobiographical to the surreal. Some of these pieces are extremely compelling pieces of storytelling, while others give you an insight into the oblique perspective of Perec. Occasionally, however, there is a weaker piece which, being a completist text, it is naturally hard to avoid. But this considered, as a whole the book is a special collection which should form part of any Perec fan's bookcase.
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on 18 October 2009
this is one of the most beautiful and accessible works by Georges Perec. An essay on the way in which we use space and how we might consider other forms of inhabitation from our bedroom to the universe. It's lightness would have delighted his friend and collaborator Italo Calvino (see Six Memos for the Next Millennium (Penguin Modern Classics)). It's full of humour and linguistic dexterity but also pathos. if there are shortcomings in the world we live in, perhaps these are our own responsibility for not caring and not looking deeply or imaginatively at the what surrounds us. One of my favourite books and most repeated gift to friends.
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on 23 October 2002
I'm a big fan of Mr Perec and other Oulipo writers, and I reckon this is a fine introduction to his range and vitality as a writer. I return to the different pieces again and again, they are thought-provoking and insightful by turns. Especially good are Think/classify, the title-piece and his thoughts on fashion. In these short works, his interest in penetrating the world we inhabit through the things around us often termed mundane is really refreshing. Sociology is made accessible here and distilled with literary and linguistic knowledge to make a quite unique mix.
For such a technical master, Perec also manages to move on an emotive level - Rue Vilin is a piece about periodic returns to the street where his ma lived before she was taken by the Nazis. Also, the analysis of his psycho analysis is revealing without ever saying too much.
Finally, the translations manage to keep the readability of the selections very well I thought.
One criticism is that there were not more pieces included, perhaps some more Oulipo related work might have been put in - there is not much of this translated into English, although it is maybe not the easiest of tasks to do well.
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on 27 October 2012
really useful to the architecture students, it shows a new way to explore space and learn from the info-ordinary thing surrounding us.
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on 19 January 2015
Interesting and valuable to me for the contents of Spaces
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on 6 November 2014
Best architectural education
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on 10 June 2013
The book arrived quickly and it's a great book for architecture students, although it is quite confusing! I'm sure it will last me over the years to come!
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on 14 April 2004
The cleverest man who ever died, bit doesnt make you feel stupid- only more aware of the things and words around you. A great accompanyment to "A Void" and "Life..." and a reasonable introduction to Oulipo.
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on 18 October 2015
good
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on 26 June 2012
It is nice in parts, but too much panning for too little gold. The "art of elucidation" is after a while boring and annoying and it is questionable whether a phenomenology of living and space can be arrived at simply by listing things.
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