Portrait of a Man Known as Il Condottiere
Before embarking on these experiments, however, Perec tried his hand at a relatively straightforward novel, Portrait of a Man. His first book, it was rejected by publishers when he submitted it in 1960, after which he filed it away. Decades after Perec’s death, David Bellos discovered the manuscript, and through his translation we have a chance to enjoy it in English for the first time. What fans will find here is a thriller that combines themes that would remain prominent in Perec’s later work, such as art forgery, authenticity, and murder, as well as craftsman Gaspard Winckler, who whose namesakes play major roles in Life A User’s Manual and W or The Memory of Childhood.
Engaging and entertaining on its own merits, and gaining additional interest when set in the context of Perec’s career, Portrait of a Man is sure to charm the many fans of this postmodern master.