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The French modernist author Georges Perec regularly uses languages other than French to fulfill linguistic constraints in his writing. This article studies his use of Arabic in the twin contexts of postwar modernization and decolonization in France and its former empire. It focuses on the mono-vocalic novella Les revenentes (1972), which contains no vowels other than "e". It argues that using Arabic and pseudo-Arabic words and names to satisfy this putatively formal constraint inscribes the postcolonial economy of linguistic and literary relations in both the language of the text and its script.