RARA-AVIS: paul theroux on simenon

From: Jack Bludis ( buildsnburns@yahoo.com)
Date: 20 Mar 2008

Paul Theroux's overview of Simenon in his TIME OF LONDON article is as comprehensive as I've seen.

Here's the URl again:


It covers Simenon's life, his work, his anger at Albert Camus, his sexual proclivities, and his style.

Of his style Paul quotes Simenon and says:

"You know you have a beautiful sentence, cut it", Simenon said. "Every time I find such a thing in one of my novels it is to be cut." Simenon is exaggerating: he sometimes lets slip a pretty sentence, but generally his writing is so textureless as to be transparent, and never calls attention to itself ("It's written as if by a child").

Later, he gives examples of Simenon's simplicity. Although it may be difficult to call these sentences "beautiful" they certainly are striking images, which I noticed years ago when I read a great deal of Simenon, especially his "noir" novels as opposed to his novels about Inspector Maigrets. (Interesting, to the best of my knowledge, Maigret was as faithful to his wife as Simenon seemed sexually unfaithful to all of his lovers.)

I hope I didn't steal the thunder--How could I? The article is a first-class dissection of the great French writer.



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