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[personal profile] primeideal
So, Yuletide happened! I'll post a reveals post on Tumblr; if people want me to TL;DR about it, I can do that, too, but it would be super long and self-absorbed so I'm not sure whether that's worth it.

To make a very long story short, I treated for "La Disparition"/"A Void," and realized that I wanted to canon review just to remember the names of some minor characters if nothing else, because I first read it several years ago and had forgotten most of it. It was surprisingly hard to find the sort of "wait, who was who" stuff by Googling, because there aren't very many non-paywalled, English-language web pages about this book! A handful of Google books stuff with page limits, and some in French. So I took notes along the way, just sort of "in chapter N we meet Mr. X," as a useful memory jog for anyone who wants a summary without having to do a reread. Mostly this is my own notes and will be very spoilery/confusing to anyone who hasn't read canon, but I figured if anyone else is Googling this and is in my position for fic or other purposes it might be useful someday.

Amaury Conson:
six sons. Aignan disappears at Oxford during Gadsby Wright's class
Adam starvs to death in a sanatorium
Ivan eaten by a shark
Odilon chokes
Urbain dies of blood loss
Yvon...TBD, but not on good terms with Amaury anymore.

friends with Anton and checks up on him after his disappearance, searches his apartment for books (chapter 6)

Hassan Ibn Abbou: Moroccan solicitor, met in a zoo, killed by poison (chapter 7)
*Ian Monk complains about the "solicitor at a zoo" line; it's supposed to be alluding to a semi-famous pangram (the equivalent of misquoting "the quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog" in English, and getting it wrong is a tip-off from Anton to his friends.)

Arthur Wilburg Savorgnan: meets Amaury at Hassan's funeral (ch. 8) and brings him to meet Olga at Azincourt (home of Augustus and Douglas Clifford) (ch. 9)

Squaw: Augustus' maid, part-Iroquois. likes to swear, good at judo (ch. 9)

ch. 12: Douglas was brought to Augustus by a man calling himself "Tryphiodorus;"* Augustus then adopted him and raised him as his legitimate son.

*Ancient Greek Tryphiodorus wrote proto-lipogram adaptations of the Odyssey, omitting a in book 1, b in book 2, etc.

ch. 13: Othon Lippmann--shady cult leader who Augustus is taken in by. eventually kills after his "zahir" (ring) goes missing. Augustus then raises Douglas to be a great musician.

ch. 14 Douglas runs away, marries Olga Mavrokhordatos. Anton writes to Augustus to bring him news. Augustus freaks out [knowing Olga's presumed father hates Americans, and by extension Brits.]

ch. 15 Mavrokhordatos family originally Turkish, then Albanian. Nicholas participates in a coup that goes poorly, and most of his family killed. Son Albin survives to lead a crime gang. Othon Lippmann joins his mafia.

ch. 16 while his gang burns down a Hollywood studio and kills everyone else, Albin has amazingly hot sex with Anastasia, a Hollywood actress

ch. 17 Anastasia dies in childbirth in a sanatorium, leaving an infant child [presumably Olga]. Albin is later killed by Lippmann before he can meet with Olga.

ch. 18 when Augustus sees Douglas perform, Douglas is killed

ch. 19 Anton and Olga travel the world together and grow closer. Eventually, Anton breaks it off and tells Olga to go back to Azincourt and stay with Augustus. In fact, "Tryphiodorus" the tramp was actually Douglas' real father, and also ANTON's real father, so Anton and Douglas are brothers. Anton wants to research the curse on their family before it kills anyone else.

In the present day; Jonah the carp dies. Squaw offers to cook it.

Abraham Baruch--her friend, Jewish, lives in San Francisco, taught her to make gefilte fish.

Olga sees the zahir (which was eaten by Jonah years ago) and dies.

ch. 21 tl;dr of the plot so far. mentions that Yvon Conson has died (stabbed after refusing a rematch in a dice game). Then Amaury dies.

ch. 22: Amaury and Savorgnan are revealed to be brothers.

Their father was from a Turkish family. Originally all the inheritance went to the eldest, no one else got any. Then got into the habit of killing off others to move up the ladder. Maximin--started this pattern, killed off a bunch of people, then died, chaos ensued.

Eventually a rule set in that only one son per family. Most people enforced it by letting other sons die.

ch. 23: Amaury and Savorgnan were two of a set of triplets. their father was absent at their birth, and normally would have just killed two of them. seeing the situation, mother told the doctor to hide two of them and raise the oldest son alone. thirty years passed normally, but on her deathbed she confessed the whole story. a distant cousin found out and assumed that their father was trying to cheat, and to punish him, killed the firstborn son. dad got angry and blamed the two unknown sons (Amaury and Savorgnan) for his loss, and decided to punish them by first killing all their sons, then them, so that they'd know his pain of not having their sons around to love him.

Savorgnan works a long time to trace his brother, eventually learning that he was raised by someone actually named "Amaury Conson" (in Mitrovica, Kosovo?) and took that name in his honor. Original Amaury is shot in Zurich while Savorgnan investigates.

ch. 24 Savorgnan marries Yolanda, a typist on a ship; she dies giving birth to sextuplets in Morocco. He splits them up, knowing his father will come for them if they stay together; Hassan Ibn Abbou stays behind in Morocco, as Tryphiodorus, he gives Douglas to Augustus, and he gives Anton to Irish Catholic parents Lady d'Antrim and Horatio Vowl. (Horatio dies three years later). Then swaps Olga with Anastasia's dying baby.

Raises two sons, Ulrich and Yorick, by himself, who are led into the woods by a pied piper (age 3? 5?)

Amaury is frustrated that he didn't get in touch before (when Aignan died), and falls backward into the oil basin.

ch. 25: Ulrich becomes Ottavio Ottaviani, the young police officer. Yorick Gribaldi goes AWOL from military ranks.

Ottavio reads the meta-lipogram, but when he notices that it doesn't have an e, explodes.

ch. 26 Aloysius Swann (police boss) reveals himself to have been (in league with the?) bad guy, taunts Savorgnan with "there are five ways I could kill you" now that his sons are all dead. Savorgnan: "no, you can't do any of those." "oh, haha, I guess I'll just have to shoot you!"

*some ambiguity over who is the "bushy man" of the picture. maybe Perec himself? in that sense, even if Swann is the father/grandfather, he could have been "just doing what the author told him to do."


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