“A book describes works conceived of but not realized by its author.” Like Suicide and Autoportrait, Works is another of Eduoard Levé’s bewitching reconceptions of what the novel can (or should) do.
A list of 533 projects, beginning with its own description–both likely and unlikely, sober and ridiculous; some of which Levé later realized, most of which he did not. Works ranks with the fiction of Georges Perec for its seemingly limitless, ingenious, and comical inventiveness. A lampoon of conceptual art–if not, indeed, an exemplar of its charms at their best–Works is another piece in the puzzle of Levé’s brief and fascinating life.
“(T)his is a beautifully thought-provoking work (….) Works was first published in 2002, and if Suicide was painful and disturbing to read, this is not. There is…a poignant side to it, almost melancholic, and if there is a theme beyond the obvious one of its own project, it is that a lot of the works described could be considered as meditations on mortality and transience. But it is shot through with humour, verbal dexterity and audacity”–Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian
“Levé isn’t calling for the creation of a new kind of art. Rather, encoded in this catalog of works and meta works is a call to revisit what it is we value in art. Is it to work in opposition to what we cherish? To double back on that which we find extraordinary? To call the extraordinariness of the thing in question into question? “Works” is a book charged with wit and wonder, seeded with the prospect of future masterpieces. It’s a pity that no more of them will sprout from Levé.”–Jim Ruland, LA Times
“In a way that seems characteristically French, Levé takes a serious and meticulous approach to the praxis of tomfoolery. He’s an obvious heir in this sense to the Oulipo group of Francophone experimental writers, with their bold formal conceits and reckless restrictions (…) Works is a spectacle of pure form, a playful pageant of invention in service of nothing much more than itself. It’s art made out of nonexistent art for art’s sake.”–Mark O’Connell, Slate Book Review