A Void (orig. French La Disparition (literally, "The Disappearance") is a 300 page French lipogrammatic novel, written in 1969 by Georges Perec, entirely without the letter e, following Oulipo constraints. Its translation into English by Gilbert Adair is entitled A Void.
All translators have imposed upon themselves a similar lipogrammatic constraint to the original, avoiding the most commonly used letter of the alphabet. This precludes the use of words normally considered essential such as je ("I") and le (masculine "the") in French, and "me" and "the" in English. The Spanish version contains no a, which is the most commonly used letter in that language.
A Void's plot follows a group of individuals hunting a missing companion, Anton Vowl. It is in part a parody of noir and horror fiction, with many stylistic tricks, gags, plot twists, and a grim conclusion. In many parts it implicitly talks about its own lipogrammatic limitation: of 26 parts, fifth is missing, unusual orthography of 'Vowl', and so on. Individuals within A Void do work out what's missing but find discussion of it hazardous, as according to its author's constraint no word containing said lacuna may occur, and any who try risk fatal injury. Philip Howard, writing a lipogrammatic appraisal of A Void in a major British journal, said "This is a story chock-full of plots and sub-plots, of loops within loops, of trails in pursuit of trails, all of which allow its author an opportunity to display his customary virtuosity as an avant-gardist magician, acrobat and clown."
In French, the phrase "sans e" ("without e") sounds very much like "sans eux" ("without them"), another encrypted reference to loss.
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