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George Perec autobiographic book about his childhood. However the story is much more complicated - or the stories. Half of the chapters are Perec telling the reader about his childhood memories, and his difficulties to recall them. He was a jew in France in the 1940's ; his mother was deported, and he remembers hers sending to the alps to avoid him the same fate. However, his memories of that time are clearly false : he remembers having a Charlie Chaplin Comic Book - hardly possible in the Nazi-occupied France. Indeed it is clear Perec has lost memories of his parents, and thus of his childhood.

The other half of the chapters - intermingled with the autobiographical ones - are first about a man who had had to change his name being hired to retrieve a ship on which a child has disappeared, and then about an island near Southern Chile where a sport-oriented Utopia has turned into a totalitarian, fascist-like society.

W, or the Memory of a Childhood is a strange reading experience - at first the two intermingled stories seem completely unrelated, but as a whole it is impressive - one of the few books that are able to tell the reader about the Shoah. It's not about its story, but about what its impact is on people who had to suffer from it, like Perec : the destruction of one's life on the psychological level.

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