As you read A Void you can’t help but think of Perec scratching his head doing the research. A great example is the pieces of evidence that are presented by Anton Vowl’s friends to try and establish where he has gone.
Among the diaries and thoughts are six excerpts from famous writers ranging from Milton to Shakespeare – without the e’s – but nowhere is there an e to be seen.
Mind you nowhere is the character of Vowl to be seen. But the other characters around him are now getting some flesh on the bones with Olga an opera singer who can be found at her father-in-laws. She was widowed after just a few days when her husband was killed in a freak accident and died without any apparent cause of death.
They are also joined by a British friend who adds to the anglophile feeling with Olga’s husband being named Douglas Haig after the famous British figures of that name.
It is still hard to know what is going on and still a challenge to stay with Perec but in the sense that it keeps you awake on the train then this book does that and makes you work a bit with the old grey cells.