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The Longest Now

Perec’s Valène’s dreams : Life: A User’s Manual’s story concept hoard
Wednesday January 02nd 2019, 1:31 pm
Filed under: %a la mod,Glory, glory, glory,ideonomy,Seraphic,Uncategorized

And a second catalog of tales, with fewer interconnections : Valène’s incomplete catalog of 179 stories from the Fifty-First chapter of Life, A User’s Manual, a life-work of Perec, poetic puzzlemaker and one of the great writers of the 20th century, lovingly translated into English by the meticulous David Bellos :

1   The Coronation at Covadonga of Alkhamah's victor, Don Pelage

2   The Russian singer and Schönberg living in Holland as exiles

3   The deaf cat on the top floor with one blue & one yellow eye

4   Barrels of sand being filled by order of the fumbling cretin

5   The miserly old woman marking all her expenses in a notebook

6   The puzzlemaker's backgammon game giving him his bad tempers

7   The concierge watering potted plants for residents when away

8   The parents naming their son Gilbert after Bécaud their idol

9   A bigamous count's wife accepting his Turkish female rescuer

10  The businesswoman, regretting that she had to leave the land


11  The boy taking down the bins dreaming how to write his novel

12  The Australian round-the-worlder and her well-dressed nephew

13  The anthropologist, failing to locate the ever-evasive tribe

14  The cook's refusal of an oven with the self-cleansing device

15  1% sacrificed to art by the MD of a world-wide hotel company

16  The nurse casually leafing through a shiny new photo magazine

17  The poet who went on a pilgrimage shipwrecked at Arkhangelsk

18  The impatient Italian violinplayer who riled his miniaturist

19  The fat, sausage-eating couple keeping their wireless set on

20  The one-armed officer after the bombardment of General H.-Q.


21  The daughter's sad reveries, at the side of her father's bed

22  Austrian customers getting just the steamiest “Turkish Bath”

23  The Paraguayan odd-job man, getting ready to ignite a letter

24  The billionaire sporting knickerbockers to practice painting

25  The Woods & Water Dept. official opens a sanctuary for birds

26  The widow with her souvenirs wrapped in old weekly magazines

27  An international thief taken to be a high-ranking magistrate

28  Robinson Crusoe leading a very decent life style on his isle

29  The domino-playing rodent who feasted on dried-out Edam rind

30  The suffering “word-snuffer” messing around in old bookshops


31  The black-clad investigator selling the latest key to dreams

32  The man in vegetable oils opening a fish restaurant in Paris

33  The famous old soldier killed by a loose Venetian chandelier

34  The injured cyclist who then married his pace-maker’s sister

35  The cook whose master ingested only eggs and poached haddock

36  The newly-weds taking credit over 2 yrs to have a luxury bed

37  The art dealer's deserted wife, left for an Italian Angelina

38  The childhood friend reading the biographies of her 5 nieces

39  The gentleman who inserted into bottles figures made of cork

40  An archaeologist researching the Arab king's Spanish capital


41  The Pole living quietly in the Oise now his clowning is over

42  The hag who cut the hot water to stop her son-in-law shaving

43  A Dutchman who knew any No. could be but the sum of K primes

44  Robert Scipion devising his supremely clever cross-word clue

45  The scientist learning to lip-read the deaf-mute's equations

46  The Albanian terrorist serenading his love, an American star

47  The Stuttgarter businessman wanting to roast his leg of boar

48  Dodéca's owner's son preferring the porn trade to priesthood

49  A barman speaking pidgin in order to swap his mother-goddess

50  The boy seeing in his dreams the cake he hadn't been allowed


51  7 actors each refusing the role after they'd seen the script

52  A deserter from US forces in Korea allowing his squad to die

53  The superstar who started out as a sex-changed guitar-player

54  A redheaded white man enjoying a rich maharajah's tiger hunt

55  A liberal grandfather moved to creation by a detective story

56  The expert penman copying suras from the Koran in the casbah

57  Angelica's aria from Arconati's Orlando requested by Orfanik

58  The actor plotting suicide with the help of a foster brother

59  Her arm held high a Japanese athlete bears the Olympic torch

60  Embattled Aetius stopping the Huns on the Catalaunian Fields


61  Selim’s arrow hitting the end wall of a room 888 metres long

62  The staff sergeant deceasing because of his rubber-gum binge

63  The mate of the Fox alighting on Fitz-James's final messages

64  The student staying in a room for six months without budging

65  The producer's wife off yet again on a trip around the globe

66  The central-heating engineer making sure the fueljet ignites

67  The executive who entertained all his workmates very grandly

68  The boy sorting medical blotters he'd been collecting avidly

69  The actor-cook hired by an American lady who was hugely rich

70  The former croupier who turned into a shy, retiring old lady


71  The technician trying a new experiment, and losing 3 fingers

72  The young lady living in the Ardennes with a Belgian builder

73  The Dr's ancestor nearly solving the synthetic gem conundrum

74  The ravishing American magician and Mephisto agreeing a deal

75  The curio dealer's son in red leather on his Guzzi motorbike

76  The principal destroying the secrets of the German scientist

77  The historian, turned down 46 times, burning his 1200-pp. MS

78  A Jap who turned a quartz watch Co into a gigantic syndicate

79  The Swedish diplomat trying madly to avenge his son and wife

80  The delayed voyager begging to have her green beans returned


81  The star seeking admission by meditating a recipe for afters

82  The lady who was interested in hoarding clockwork mechanisms

83  The magician guessing answers with digits selected at random

84  The Russian prince presenting a mahogany sofa shaped in an S

85  The superfluous driver playing cardgames to use up his hours

86  A medic, hoping to make a mark on gastronomy with crab salad

87  An optimistic engineer liquidating his exotic hides business

88  The Japanese sage initiating in great anguish Three Free Men

89  A selftaught old man again going over his sanatorium stories

90  A relative twice removed, obliged to auction his inheritance


91  Customs & Excise men unpacking the raging princess's samovar

92  The trader in Indian cotton goods doing up a flat on the 8th

93  French-style overtures brought to the Hamburg Opera by a Hun

94  Marguerite, restoring things seen through a magnifying glass

95  The puzzlemaker with his ginger cat taking the name of Chéri

96  The nightclub waiter, legging up on stage to start a cabaret

97  The rich amateur leaving his musical collection to a library

98  A housing and estate agency woman looking at that empty flat

99  The lady doing the Englishman's black cardboard puzzle boxes

100 The critic committing 4 crimes for 1 of Percival's seascapes


101 The Praetor ordering 30000 Lusitanians to be killed in a day

102 A student in a long coat staring at a map of the Paris metro

103 The building manager, trying to solve his cash-flow problems

104 The girl studying the craftsman's rings to sell in her store

105 Nationalists fighting the Damascene publisher who was French

106 A little girl gnawing at the edges of her shortbread cookies

107 The maid, imagining she'd seen the evil eye in an undertaker

108 A painstaking scientist examining rats' reactions to poisons

109 The pranking student who put beef stock in vegetarians' soup

110 A workman gazing at his letter, as he leaves with two others


111 The aged gentleman's gentleman recomputing his nth factorial

112 The staggered priest offering help to a Frenchman lost in NY

113 The druggist spending his fortune on the Holy Vase of Joseph

114 The jigsaw glue being perfected by a head of a chemistry lab

115 That gent in a black cloak donning new, tight-fitting gloves

116 Old Guyomard cutting Bellmer's sheet in 2 through the middle

117 Original fine champagne proffered to Colbert by Don Pérignon

118 A gay waltz being written by an old friend of Liszt & Chopin

119 Agreeably drowsy after lunch, M. Riri sitting at his counter

120 Gallant Amerigo learning a continent was to be named America


121 Mark Twain reading his obituary long before he'd intended to

122 The woman polishing a dagger that was Kléber's murder weapon

123 The college endowed by its ex-rector, an expert in philology

124 The single mother reading Pirandello's story of Daddi, Romeo

125 The historian who used pseudonyms to publish rubbishy novels

126 The librarian collecting proof that Hitler continues to live

127 A blind man tuning a Russian prima donna's grand piano-forte

128 A decorator making the most of the young pig’s crimson bones

129 The agent trading cowries believing he'd make millions at it

130 The disappointed customer who in dyeing her hair lost it all


131 The assistant librarian using red pencil to ring opera crits

132 The lovelorn coachman who thought he'd heard a rodent mewing

133 The kitchen-lads bringing up hot tasty snacks for a grand do

134 The nurse's milk jug spilt on the carpet by two naughty cats

135 A Tommy and his bride-to-be stuck between floors in the lift

138 The bookdealer who found three of Victor Hugo's original MSS

137 The English “au pair” reading an epistle from her boy-friend

138 The ordnance general who was shot in the lounge of his hotel

139 The doctor whom loaded fire-arms forced to carry out surgery

140 Safari-buffs with their native guide - posing for the camera


141 The French prof, getting pupils' vacation assignments marked

142 A beautiful Polish woman and her wee son dreaming of Tunisia

143 The judge's spouse whose pearls had cooked black in the fire

144 The cyclist struggling for recognition for his 1-hour record

145 A conscript startled on seeing his old physics schoolteacher

146 The ex-landlord dreaming of a “hero” of the traditional kind

147 A conductor rehearsing his band for 9 weeks, again and again

148 A gifted numerate, aspiring to construct a massive radiomast

149 Antipodean fans giving their idol a present of 71 white mice

150 The Spanish ex-concierge not too keen to unjam the lift door


151 Listening to an enormous phonogram, a smoker of an 89c cigar

152 A choreographer, returning to torment the loveless ballerina

153 The man who delivered wine on a trike doing the hall mirrors

154 An obviously pornographic old man waiting at the school gate

155 The botanist hoping an ivory Epiphyllum would carry his name

156 The so-called Russian who solved every brainteaser published

157 The infant Mozart, performing for Louis and Marie-Antoinette

158 A sword-swallower who on medication threw up a load of nails

159 A man who made religious articles dying of cold in the woods

160 Blind horses, deep down in the mine, hauling railway waggons


161 A urologist musing on the arguments of Galen and Asclepiades

162 A handsome pilot looking for the castle at Corbenic on a map

163 The carpenter's workman warming his hands at a woodchip fire

164 Visitors to the Orient trying to solve the magic ring puzzle

165 A ballet maestro beaten to death in the U.S.A. by 3 hoodlums

166 A princess, who said prayers at her regal granddad's bedside

167 The tenant (for 6 wks) insisting on full checks on all pipes

168 A manager who managed to be away for four months in the year

169 A lady who owned a curio shop fishing for a malosol cucumber

170 The man who saw his own death warrant in a newspaper cutting


171 The emperor thinking of the “Eagle” to attack the Royal Navy

172 Famous works improved by a celebrated artist's layer of haze

173 Eugene of Savoy having a list made of the relics of Golgotha

174 in a polka-dot dress, a woman who knitted beside the seaside

175 The Tommies enjoying girls' gym practices on a Pacific beach

176 Gedeon Spilett locating the last match in his trouser pocket

177 A young trapeze artist refusing to climb down from his perch

178 Woodworms' hollow honeycombs solidified by an Italian artist

179 Lonely Valène putting every bit of the block onto his canvas

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