W or The Memory of Childhood

W or The Memory of Childhood


Written in alternating chapters, W or the Memory of Childhood, tells two parallel tales, in two parts. One is a story created in childhood and about childhood. The other story is about two people called Gaspard Winckler: one an eight-year-old deaf-mute lost in a shipwreck, the other a man despatched to search for him, who discovers W, an island state based on the rules of sport. As the two tales move in and out of focus, the disturbing truth about the island of W reveals itself.

Perec combines fiction and autobiography in unprecedented ways, allowing no easy escape from these stories, or from history.


  • Perec was a haunted writer, haunted by his Jewish ancestry, by the Holocaust that coincided with his own orphaned childhood, by the death of his father in 1940 and his mother's disappearance in Auschwitz. Writing, for him, was an act of exorcism
    Sunday Times

About the author

Georges Perec

One of the most important post-war French novelists, Georges Perec was only 42 when he died in 1982. He is the author of LIFE, A USER'S MANUAL. THE WINTER JOURNEY has been published as a Penguin Syren.
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