Date: 19 October 1974. Time: 2:00 PM. Location: Tabac Saint-Sulpice.
A man goes by, wearing a surgical collar
A woman goes by; she is eating a slice of tart
A couple approaches their Autobianchi Abarth parked along the sidewalk.
The woman bites into a tartlet.
There are lots of children.
It is October 1974. Georges Perec (1936-1982) spends three days around Place Saint-Sulpice at the centre of the 6th arrondissement of Paris. Sometimes he sits in cafés, or on a bench right in the sun. Other times, he stands by the tabac shop. An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris records Perec’s extensive observations of the very ordinary objects, words, colours, movements and flows around the square.
This is not a book that features a standard plot-line. There is no rising action, climax, or falling action. It is merely an inventory of consecutive moments, where the protagonists are the observers and the observed.
Perec, like many members of Oulipo*, likes to experiment with his writing. In this book, his experimental technique effortlessly captures the richness of everyday urban life.