Ellis Island

(Author) (Afterword by)
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Product Details

$11.95  $11.11
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
5.1 X 7.0 X 0.2 inches | 0.1 pounds

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About the Author

Georges Perec, born in Paris in 1936, was a pioneering French novelist, filmmaker, documentalist and essayist. Orphaned from an early age, many of his works deal with absence, loss and identity, often through word play. He later became an eminent member of the experimental Oulipo group. He died in 1982.
Mónica de la Torre's is the author of Repetition Nineteen; she teaches at Brooklyn College.
Harry Mathews was born and raised on New York's Upper East Side but left America for France in 1952 shortly after graduating from Harvard. He has written over a dozen books including the novels Cigarettes, The Journalist, and Tlooth, along with collected stories, The Human Country, and essays, The Case of the Persevering Maltese. Mathews is also the only American member of the Oulipo--the Workshop for Potential Literature--France's longest, and most active, literary movement. He divides his time between Paris, Key West, and New York.


Part history, part memoir, part meditation, this extended essay is a strikingly original and striking book.
The lyric study of Ellis Island is a mournful counterfactual about what might have been had his parents--and many others--made it across the ocean.... If Perec took pride in not repeating himself, it did not stop him from returning, as if in an elliptical orbit, to the same obsessions: police states, citizens going missing, organized brutality, human fragility.--Paul Grimstad
Ellis Island combines poetry with prose and literary quotation with empirical fact, employing the hybridity of text to reflect upon the very concept of integration. While exploring the island--its history, its buildings, its leftovers--Perec identifies Ellis Island as a non-place, an isle of tears, and reveals Emma Lazarus's metaphor of America's 'golden door, ' which is emblazoned upon the Statue of Liberty, to be little but a false promise.