144 Boa Vista Road

New Town


17th September, 1994

Dear Georges Perec

I have read your book Life: A User's Manual twice now. I enjoyed it even more the second time. The conceit of the jigsaw puzzle is fascinating.

To add to my pleasure, my granddaughter (of her own volition and knowing nothing of my preoccupations) has begun her journey, too, into the cardboard kingdom.

During her school holidays she has visited me every day to work at a puzzle. She delights in completing a difficult one. I'm sure you would be amused by her formidable attempts to induce me to hide the most intimate piece of the puzzle in a place where she cannot find it. Of course, we have our rules for this.

And I'm not breaking the rules by asking you to accept the piece enclosed and to care for it as if it were one of Gaspard Winckler's own--and not a mass-produced artifact from a local store.

Amy will not find the piece for some time--perhaps not till after I am gone--but I will leave enough clues for her to follow. She will locate it eventually. Think of her satisfaction when she does!

Georges, I know you have been dead these last dozen years but I'm sure that won't stop the two of us cooking up something together which my not-so-little Amy will enjoy.

Do you still reside in France? Or in some less substantial place? In either case, I'm content. Here is the jigsaw puzzle piece. Hide it where you will. Perhaps you will still have it when I am free to visit.

Your admiring reader

Roland Bath