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Thread: Georges Simenon

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    The right earlobe of North America

    Georges Simenon

    French writer (hence the plural 'Georges'; the French seem to have too many of them), prolific author of noir psychological mystery/dramas, most famous for a long series of detective novels featuring an Inspector Maigret. But he also wrote a galaxy of other short novels and novellas, of quietly dark nature, involving mainly ordinary people caught in events beyond their control, and trying to work things out.

    Simenon lived a long time, seems to have been a very private man, and near the end of his life, announced publicly that he was done with writing, had accomplished all he wanted to, merci beaucoup, and proceeded quietly to die within a year or so.

    I've been intrigued by what I've read about Simenon, and, being an inveterate browser of used bookstores, have acquired, very cheap, six or seven of his non-Maigret books.

    Last night I started one: The Clockmaker, published 1955, English translation printed 1967. Set in the United States (I don't know if Simenon ever visited the U.S., but the feel of place is pretty good). It's about 120 pages, typical of much of his work. I read half of it last night, probably will finish it tonight.

    This piece is written in omniscient POV, but an odd variant of it. Rather than simply provide information to the reader from the omniscient viewpoint, Simenon asks questions: Did the policeman know why the car was abandoned? Did Galloway (the main character) understand why his car was abandoned where it was? etc. And leaves the reader to consider the answer, which is never given.

    I find the piece rather hypnotic, and will definitely read more of Simenon. I think the Maigret stories could be pretty interesting.

    So, I wonder, who else here has read Georges Simenon's work, and if so, what are the thoughts about it?

    Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.

    -- Terry Pratchett

  2. #2
    Behaving SuperModerator
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    I remember the Maigret series when they were shown on PBS, but I don't think I ever read one of his books.


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