1. Running away (from assassins / evil secret service / the ghost of a little girl) this weekend? Take these books with you. And run faster.

    Equal Danger, by Leonardo Sciascia

    An attorney, a judge, and then another judge are all shot dead in an imaginary country. Random or conspiracy? Either way, it’s paranoia city in Sciascia’s metaphysical detective novel.

    The Other, by Thomas Tryon

    An evil twin story. A really, really creepy evil twin story. What more do you need to know?

    Red Lights, by Georges Simenon

    Steve and Nancy just want to pick their kids up from camp, but when Steve decides to get drunk and pick up an escapee from Sing Sing along the way, the couples’ plans are derailed. Those kids are just going to have to wait.

    The Mad and the Bad, by Jean-Patrick Manchette

    What do you get when you put an evil architect, an insane asylum discharge, a super bratty kid, and a hired gunman together? Chaos. Bloody chaos.

    Rogue Male, by Geoffrey Household

    A bored hunter decides to play out his own version of “The Most Dangerous Game,” with a vicious dictator as the target. Suffice it to say, the game turns on him and he’s chased o’er hill and vale by a hunter as good—or better—than him.

    Fatale, by Jean-Patrick Manchette

    Aimee’s secret to being a great killer?: be beautiful, be deceptive, and always exercise in the buff (no, that’s not a euphemism).

    The Fox in the Attic, by Richard Hughes

    A young Welshman, unjustly considered complicit in a murder, travels to Bavaria to stay at his relatives’ castle. There he discovers a Germany torn apart by its recent defeat in WWI, unrequited love, and an intimate look into a growing political party that threatens to change everyone’s future.

    The Murderess, by Alexandros Papadiamantis

    It’s no fun being a woman on the dirt-poor island of Skiathos, and no one knows that better than Papadiamantis’ grandma-turned-murderer, Hadoula.

    Don’t Look Now, by Daphne du Maurier

    Daphne du Maurier was a master of nightmares, and this collection is full of them: vacation-ruining ghosts, midnight trysts that devolve into homicides, and the killer birds that Hitchcock loved so much.

  2. 
He liked his cake sweeter. And he usually drank his coffee with whipped cream and a dash of vanilla. The waiter would have none of it.
—Georges Simenon, The Man Who Watched Trains Go By

Barista privilege, c. 1938
Got a shot of a cup of coffee and an NYRB Classic? Send it to this address and we’ll add it to the Classics and Coffee Club series. And let us know where you bought or borrowed the book from—we’d be glad to shout out places that stock NYRB Classics.

    He liked his cake sweeter. And he usually drank his coffee with whipped cream and a dash of vanilla. The waiter would have none of it.

    —Georges Simenon, The Man Who Watched Trains Go By

    Barista privilege, c. 1938

    Got a shot of a cup of coffee and an NYRB Classic? Send it to this address and we’ll add it to the Classics and Coffee Club series. And let us know where you bought or borrowed the book from—we’d be glad to shout out places that stock NYRB Classics.

  3. Cine-Simenon at Anthology Film Archives ; Three Bedrooms in Manhattan TONIGHT!

    This week marked the beginning of Cine-Simenon at Anthology Film Archives in NYC, and tonight at 7PM they are playing Three Bedrooms in Manhattan! If you are in or around the East Village, considering seeing the film. It promises to be deliciously moody.


    Also, read a great write-up by The Village Voice on the Anthology series devoted to the incredibly prolific French-language author here.

  4. 
Nathan Gelgud’s entry in Powell’s tote bag competition has made it to the finals. Vote for it here. It’s on the theme of serendipity in the bookstore and features Richard Hughes’s High Wind in Jamaica and Georges Simenon’s Strangers in the House among other discoveries.
Says Nathan:

One of the best feelings a reader can get at Powell’s is the feeling that somewhere on the shelves is your new favorite book. This is a personal design, done in a quick sketch kind of style that I hope captures the excitement of that feeling, of some authors and books I’ve discovered, almost by accident, just by browsing.

VOTE AQUI

    Nathan Gelgud’s entry in Powell’s tote bag competition has made it to the finals. Vote for it here. It’s on the theme of serendipity in the bookstore and features Richard Hughes’s High Wind in Jamaica and Georges Simenon’s Strangers in the House among other discoveries.

    Says Nathan:

    One of the best feelings a reader can get at Powell’s is the feeling that somewhere on the shelves is your new favorite book. This is a personal design, done in a quick sketch kind of style that I hope captures the excitement of that feeling, of some authors and books I’ve discovered, almost by accident, just by browsing.

    VOTE AQUI

  5. theparisreview:

    INTERVIEWER

    What do you mean by “too literary”? What do you cut out, certain kinds of words?

    GEORGES SIMENON

    Adjectives, adverbs, and every word which is there just to make an effect. Every sentence which is there just for the sentence. You know, you have a beautiful sentence—cut it. Every time I find such a thing in one of my novels it is to be cut.

    From the Art of Fiction No. 9.

  6. “I think that if a man has the urge to be an artist, it is because he needs to find himself. Every writer tries to find himself through his characters, through all his writing.”

    — 

    The Paris Review has this interview with Georges Simenon

    (On Gogol: “Each character has the weight of sculpture, it is so heavy, so dense.”)

  7. No pipe!Guess we were wrong.
writersatwork:

Georges Simenon

    No pipe!
    Guess we were wrong.

    writersatwork:

    Georges Simenon

  8. Was Simenon ever photographed without a pipe? The answer is no. 
writersatwork:

Georges Simenon

    Was Simenon ever photographed without a pipe? The answer is no.

    writersatwork:

    Georges Simenon

  9. A Simenon character’s definition of “tiresome”

    low-country:

    I’ve just found a stranger in my house … in bed, in one of the rooms on the third floor … He died at the exact moment I reached him … Will you see about it, Gérard? … It’s really tiresome.

    —Georges Simenon, The Strangers in the House (1940)

  10. Act of Passion

    Roger Ebert wrote the introduction for Act of Passion by Georges Simenon, the recent addition to our series of his roman durs (hard novels). Here’s half of a paragraph that explains the book very well:

    Act of Passion is essentially a question posing as an answer. As Charles Alavoine [the protagonist and narrator] writes his long letter to an examining magistrate, he implies that if the judge could understand him and knew the conditions of his life, it would become clear why he committed murder—why anyone would have. The novel expresses the faith of the narrator that to understand him would be to forgive him. Not to exonerate him—he accepts his guilt—but to understand why he did what he did, and to accept that we might have done the same thing. ‘You are afraid to be precise, of what has happened to me,’ he writes to the magistrate.

  11. Joan Acocella on Act of Passion

    The October 10th edition of The New Yorker had a piece by Joan Acocella on Georges Simenon, particularly the roman durs (literally: “hard novels”). Here’s what she had to say about Act of Passion, which we published this week:

    "This is a classic dur, in which a man, Charles Alavoine, escapes from what he feels is a mediocre existence in favor of a sort of self-immolation. Near the end, he has just made love with the woman, Martine, for whom he gave up everything. He is holding her in his arms and stroking the place on her thigh that he likes best. ‘And to think that I shall have to kill her one day,’ he says to himself. Then he goes on caressing her thigh.”

  12. 
And in honor of the publication of Act of Passion, a photo of Simenon and his onetime paramour, Josephine Baker. (Also pictured: Champagne bottle chilling in bucket.)

Georges Simenon and Joséphine Baker, La Coupule, Paris, 1925.

    And in honor of the publication of Act of Passion, a photo of Simenon and his onetime paramour, Josephine Baker. (Also pictured: Champagne bottle chilling in bucket.)

    Georges Simenon and Joséphine Baker, La Coupule, Paris, 1925.

  13. Publication Day for Georges Simenon’s Act of Passion

    Today we are publishing Georges Simenon’s Act of Passion and wanted to share the opening lines of the novel:

    "Monsieur Ernest Coméliau
    Examining Magistrate
    22 bis Rue de Seine
    Paris (VII)

    Your Honor:

    I should like one man, just one, to understand me. And I would like that man to be you.

    We spent many long hours together during all the weeks of preliminary investigations. But at that time it was too soon. You were a judge, you were my judge, and I would have seemed to be trying to justify myself. But now you know, don’t you? it has nothing to with that?

    I have no idea what your impression was when you came into the courtroom—familiar to you, of course. As for me, how well I remember your arrival! I was alone between my two guards. It was five o’clock in the afternoon and the twilight was beginning to gather in clouds, as it were, around the courtroom.

    It was one of the reporters—their table was near the prisoner’s dock—it was a reporter, as I say, first complained to his neighbor that it was getting too dark to see clearly. The neighbor spoke to the journalist next to him, a rather sloppily dressed old man with cynical eyes, probably a habitué of the law courts. I don’t know whether I am mistaken, but I think he was the one who wrote in his paper that I looked like a toad in ambush.

    Perhaps this is why I wonder what impression I made upon you. Our dock—that is, the prisoner’s dock—is so low that only the head can be seen above it. It was therefore perfectly natural to keep my chin resting on my hands. I have a wide face, much too wide, which gets shiny easily. But why a toad? To make his readers laugh? Through pure malice? Because he didn’t like my looks?”

  14. It might be worth visiting the new Georges Simenon museum in Brussels just to see the gallery of book jackets.
—Incidentally, among the most iconic Simenon covers are those designed by Dick Bruna (the creator of Miffy the bunny), whose father ran the publishing house A.W. Bruna & Zoon.

    It might be worth visiting the new Georges Simenon museum in Brussels just to see the gallery of book jackets.

    —Incidentally, among the most iconic Simenon covers are those designed by Dick Bruna (the creator of Miffy the bunny), whose father ran the publishing house A.W. Bruna & Zoon.

  15. Simenon on the Novel

    “‘The writer does not exist,’ he tells [his readers]. ‘Only the novel and the reader exist. The more the novel seems to have been written by the reader, the better it is. The novel must be short and it must be read at one sitting. It must not be a chronicle. It must not be picturesque. It must strike the reader a single terrible blow.’ Then, sure that he has disappointed every member of his audience, he adds that none of these maxims may be true of any novels except his own.”

    Brendan Gill, The New Yorker, January 24, 1953