RARA-AVIS: RE : Simenon and his though novels

From: E. Borgers ( webeurop@yahoo.fr)
Date: 24 Sep 2007

The « romans durs » by Simenon are full of surprises. Good ones.
  However, all is not on top level even if these are his best production.
  Simenon considered these though novels as a more literary section of his work, and it was.
  The huge success of the Maigret series shadowed a little, during the recent years, the excellence of these novels
  IMO, the absolute top, and fully existential for the count, is "La neige 鴡it sale" (The Stain on the Snow- aka: The Snow was Black). A masterpiece. Dark, haunting… and noir.
  I could also recommend:
   "Trois chambres ࠍanhattan" (Three Beds in Manhattan)
  "Les fian硩lles de Monsieur Hire" (Mr Hire's Engagement)
  « Lettre ࠭on juge » (Act of Passion)
  "Les Anneaux de Bic괲e" (The Bells of Bic괲e- aka : The Patient)
  A good start.
  There are at least 5 to 10 more books which are amongst the best part of his though novels.
  Hope this will help.
          I just finished Georges Simenon's 'The Man Who Watched Trains Go By' and it was terrific. It's one of his 'Roman Durs' which I think translates roughly as tough novel. It's an extraordinary book, more existential and powerful than Camus's 'The Stranger' in many ways?and every bit as tough and noir as something by Jim Thompson but in?it's own?very distinctive fashion.

It's made me go out and buy a bunch more of these tough novels by Simenon. Thanks to New York Review Books there's something like half a dozen different titles in print in very handsome paperback editions.

And this is only the tip of a very large iceberg: Simenon wrote some 117 of these hardboiled/noir novels and apparently?they're all pretty good!

What an extraordinary find. It's like discovering a new continent or planet. ??



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