Simenon ...a century!
He is the writer of all the superlatives, of all the records. The most read in the world, the most translated, the most adapted to the movies and television and, of course, the most productive: Georges Simenon wrote, under his own name or one of his many pseudonyms, no less than 431 titles! Certainly, this production includes the pot-boilers, minor pieces written to order for 2-sou collections of romantic, adventure or bawdy (Shirts in the Wind, A Sharp Little Thing, etc.!) novels. Nevertheless, this native of the Outremeuse district, in Liège, succeeded in being read from the top to the bottom of the social scale, to be at the same time the most popular, while considered by many of his peers as one of greatest writers of the 20th century. And further, on the occasion of the centenary of his birth, the champion of all paperback series categories enters La Pléiade!
The man himself is contradictory and complex. Creator of so specific a universe the daily grind, dullness, human mediocrity, drab and tragic beings immured in their suffering Simenon made of his own life a vibrant novel. A 16-year-old journalist at La Gazette de Liège where he wrote columns of a virulent anti-semitism night owl and lover of Joséphine Baker in the Roaring Twenties, reporter in Africa, boatman, American rancher, lord of a Swiss château he never ceased producing his own life. Insatiable in his writing, travel, houses and, especially, women pleasures mostly paid-for (10,000! he confided to his friend Federico Fellini), the man, like the writer, was decidedly out of the norm. The 19th century had its Balzac and Zola. The 20th century had Simenon, "the pitiless and brilliant clinician", as describes the excellent Passion Simenon (Textual), one of works appearing in the deluge of releases on the occasion of this centenary, celebrated abundantly at Liège and capped, without dispute, by the great exhibition, Simenon ...a century!
translation: Stephen Trussel
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