Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Georges Simenon

From: Etienne Borgers ( wbac1203@wanadoo.be)
Date: 09 Jul 2003


At 13:55 08-07-03 -0400, Bill Denton wrote:
>Thanks. It is indeed Simenon month, but I got behind in kicking it off.
>M. Borgers, among Simenon's non-Maigret books, you recommend:
>
> * LES ANNEAUX DE BICTRE (THE RINGS OF BICETRE, aka THE PATIENT)
> * TROIS CHAMBRES MANHATTAN (THREE BEDS IN MANHATTAN)
> * LA NEIGE TAIT SALE (THE STAIN ON THE SNOW)
>
>What are they like? Can you give a summary? I speak as someone who has
>never even read a Maigret novel, though I have a certain picture of them
>in my mind. I have no idea what his other books are like.

Well, now that Simenon's month is confirmed, I may answer your question with a narrower R-A angle, as my former "Web introduction" to Simenon was not specially crime or noir orientated by my selection of titles.

He wrote close to 120 more literary orientated novels, most of them with a strong existential slant, a lot of them having stories with murder and death as background, and more than a few being real Noir (in the broader sense) lit. This "literary" part of his corpus was called by the writer: "tough novels"
(romans durs) to separate them from the novels of lighter intention or even from pure mystery novels that were confused -at the time- as a part of the
"leisure readings", in many countries.

I assemble here a list of some titles that could orientate the search of Avians amongst what I consider as the top of Simenon's noir :
(dates are given based on the first publication in France)

The best (probably his masterpiece)
* THE STAIN ON THE SNOW /aka THE SNOW WAS BLACK - La neige 鴡it sale (1948)

Recommended others: ACT OF PASSION - Lettre ࠭on Juge (1947) - one of his real bests BELLE - La mort de Belle (1952) THE BLUE ROOM - La chambre bleue (1964) THE BROTHERS RICO - Les fr貥s Rico (1962) THE CAT - Le chat (1967) - maybe borderline by its topic, but totally noir by intention THE HATTER'S GHOSTS - Les fant du chapelier (1949) THE MAN WHO WATCHED THE TRAINS GO BY - L'homme qui regardait passer les trains (1938) IN CASE OF EMERGENCY - En cas de malheur (1956) STRANGERS IN THE HOUSE - Les inconnus dans la maison (1940)

But, PLEASE, do not consider the above list as restrictive. There are many more noir novels by this writer worth the read, and I didn't read them all…

There are also top novels by Simenon that are not fully in our Noir domain, but still very pessimistic, somber and existential… and not to be missed !

As you may know, Simenon stopped abruptly to write novels in 1972, a sudden decision. But he continued to write: memoirs, short essays, "opinions" (in his famous 'Dictations'- Dict饳)…etc. He died in 1989.

E.Borgers Hard-Boiled Mysteries http://www.geocities.com/Athens/6384

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