Thursday, June 13, 2013

"la boutique obscure: 124 Dreams" by Georges Perec (translated by Daniel Levin Becker)

Dream diaries are usually only interesting between the person who is having that dream and their doctor.  Beyond that when someone comes up to you and says "I have a dream and its..."  Well, your first thought is to run away.   But alas what we have here is a dream book by the great Georges Perec, and even though it is his dreams... it's still not that interesting.

The best and greatest dream book is Michel Leiris' "Nights as Day Days as Night."  Actually one of my favorite all-time books and for god's sake it's a dream journal.  But Leiris maybe a more twisted character than Perec, and not as conceptual.   So "la boutique obscure: 124 Dreams" starts in 1968 and ends in 1972,  probably the most fruitful of his writing years.  I imagine that he started this project with a beginning and an ending -perhaps taking over the role of an actual everyday journal.  But i am just guessing here; what we do have is little narratives by Perec, which shows his dream world is very straight forward in a sense.  At least one gets the sense that there is a beginning, middle part and then end.  Like Godard, not always in that order, but there is a sense of some sort of organization within the Perec dream world.    Leiris on the other hand is more sexual (and there is sex in the Perec dream world) and a tad wilder.  Also his imagery is more poetic and seductive of sorts.  Perec is sort of listing his dreams for maybe a future analysis.

But the best part of the book for me is the end index, where he list categories like "Staircases" and the color "Red" for instance - and he mentions how many times he had a dream with the color red in it and so forth.  Which comes to mind on my own writing project, which is not about dreams, but I am writing something that is very systematic, and I realize that some of that came from Perec and his work.  So, yeah its interesting but mostly for the writing process than anything else.
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