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Les Fiançailles de M.Hire

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  556 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
La concierge toussota avant de frapper, articula en regardant le catalogue de la Belle-Jardiniere qu'elle tenait a la main: - C'est une lettre pour vous, monsieur Hire. -
Et elle serra son chale sur sa poitrine. On bougea derriere la porte brune. C'etait tantot a gauche, tantot a droite, tantot des pas, tantot un froissement mou de tissu ou un heurt de faiences, et les yeux
Paperback, 190 pages
Published January 3rd 2003 by Livre de Poche (first published 1933)
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Glenn Russell
Dec 20, 2016 Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

"Now I'm afraid to run into him on the stairs!" cried the concierge. "I've always been scared of him. Everyone's scared!" No question about it, Mr. Hire gives everyone the creeps, especially the men and women in his seedy apartment building, and most especially after a prostitute is brutally murdered just two blocks away. And Mr. Hire doesn’t have to metamorphose into a giant Gregor Samsa-like bug; being a loner, an outsider who looks the way he does - short flabby body, round staring eyes, puff
A few weeks ago, I witnessed one of those little internet dramas that one often sees on Goodreads. A person calling himself "Edward" starting leaving comments on my reviews, particularly my long Charlie Hebdo thread. Most of Edward's comments didn't make sense, coming across either as extracts from an obscure postmodernist novel (the charitable interpretation) or the deranged ravings of somebody who'd forgotten to take his medication (the uncharitable one). Every now and then, however, Edward wo ...more
Apr 01, 2009 Geoff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this in its entirety in one stretch this morning sitting in a depressing, fluorescent-lit room of Beckettian absurdity. I mean I was performing my civic duty by serving in a jury pool. Anyway, the day before I was at Vertigo and picked it up for 4 bucks from their sale rack, thinking those long hours of purgatory would be all the more easily passed with some fine, gritty Paris noir, no doubt some lithe sex and murder too and maybe a few bons mots.

I didn't expect Simenon to be such a gripp
Nancy Oakes
for the longer version (which I mistakenly just left long here earlier - my apologies), you can go here; otherwise, read on.

The murder of a call girl in the Villejuif area of Paris has more than a few people on edge. The murder itself is not an event in this novel, but what happens to the protagonist of this novel, M. Hire, is based on fallout from the fear surrounding the killing. It all begins when the concierge of M. Hire's apartment building spies a bloody towel on his washstand while deli
Feb 15, 2016 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short -- very short! -- novel that, by its end, had my eyes moistening as its inevitable tragedy mercilessly panned out. The tale's finale, we realize, will come a few pages after the novel's end, when hopefully a great wrong will be righted and the bad guys get their comeuppance; in the mean time, what we're left with is a sad injustice.

M. Hire is a solitary oddball, a sort of flabbily packed sausage on legs, who lives in a seemingly rather seedy apartment building somewhere in one of the les
Jul 15, 2016 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THE ENGAGEMENT. (1933). George Simenon. ***1/2.
From the back flap: “On the outskirts of Paris, a prostitute is found murdered in a vacant lot. In a seedy apartment house nearby lives pasty, fat Mr. Hire, who earns his living through a petty postal scam. Mr. Hire is a convicted pornographer, a peeping Tom, and, once a week, the unlikely star of a Parisian bowling club, where people think he works for the police. He is a faceless man of regular habits who keeps to himself and gives his neighbors t
Feb 06, 2008 Paige rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simenon really is an amazing writer, and I still can't get over the fact that I've never read him until discovering Dirty Snow a short time ago. The Engagement is described as a psychological novel, but that's a bit misleading. Simenon doesn't dissect his characters or try to explain their motivations. They just are... with all their quirks and ugliness.

Oh! The descriptions of street noises and weather and so-called background are fantastic. No wonder Andrew Gide sang Simenon's praises. My goal
Stephen P
a compelling page turner completely shorn of metaphoric, allegoric,symbolic, elegant language-i could go on but what's the point. this was the movement of action and behavior. however, simenon's magic is that the characters actions created such a dense atmosphere of isolation, disenchantment and indifference that it has surprisingly held onto me days later and won't let go.
Mar 02, 2011 Baseni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-maigret
"Anfang der 1930er Jahre in einem Vorort von Paris, Monsieur Hire, Mieter einer Ein-Zimmer-Wohnung, klein, dick und ohne Haare, lebt nach strengen Regeln. Sein einziges Vergnügen ist das abendliche Beobachten des Dienstmädchens aus dem Milchgeschäft. Sie hat ihr Zimmer gegenüber, und ist sich der Spannerbetätigung durchaus bewußt. Wäre nicht vor kurzem eine Frau auf einem unbebauten Grundstück in der Nähe ermordet worden, niemand würde von Monsieur Hire Notiz nehmen. So interessiert sich nicht n ...more
Filippo Bossolino
Oct 18, 2014 Filippo Bossolino rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simenon in questo romanzo ci presenta il signor Hire, un uomo piccolo, grasso, solitario e taciturno; il perfetto capro espiatorio per un delitto commesso da poco nelle vicinanze di un villaggio alla periferia di Parigi. Non c'è indagine, non ci sono dubbi. Per tutti è il colpevole. Inizialmente antipatico questo signor Hire. Poi, invece, è facile affezionarcisi a questa persona profondamente triste e sola, con l'unico riscatto sociale e personale nel bowling (episodio di poche pagine di una bri ...more
Susan Abraham
Mar 30, 2013 Susan Abraham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superb perspective drawn on the hasty reaction of a general working class society, especially those who live out a routine existence and stay ready to embrace suspicion, gossip and slander at the earliest opportunity. The tearing down of reputations may be seen as an exciting thing when boredom stays the necessary alternative. This, placed upon another who may be like themselves.

Atmospheric in narration. I personally, love everyday characters sketched out from small fictitious streets, shops and
Adam Moss
Apr 13, 2014 Adam Moss rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The fascinating tale of the tragic Mr Hire.

Despite his failings you really can't help but feel sorry for this anti-hero.

Simenon uses the protagonist as a foolproof device to expose the seedy underbelly of Parisian life and morals in the 1930s.

It was a time when whispers became screams and racism, the easily spun web of local gossip and the theory that France is a country built on the premise of laissez faire are all investigated and savagely dissected here.

And underneath it all, a tale of murder
Mark Van Aken Williams
This is one Simenon’s more compelling psychological novels (1933). In it we follow Mr. Hire, a solitary man with a dubious past, who is framed for a murder he did not commit. Mr. Hire’s bleak existence is seen only through the author’s juxtaposition of character, which slowly emerges, against the settings in which he navigates his daily routine (his commute, his business, and his various other habits). He is illusive and remains isolated as this trap conspires around him, and a constantly height ...more
Mar 04, 2016 Sierra rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this book for school. It was just not good. I didn't like any of the characters, partially because none of them had any good qualities and partially because we never really got to know anyone. This is another one of those books that I'm just left wondering why on earth the author felt the need to write this down. It doesn't really feel like there was a point to any of this. And a lot of the things that I know about Mr. Hire I got from the summary on the back of the book. None of th ...more
Feb 17, 2011 Edward rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of Simenon's best in the genre of romans dur. It is a sad tale of prejudice, anti-semitism and xenophobia resulting in the death of an innocent man. Mr. Hre is a sympathetic character. His past as a petty criminal is held against him as well as his Jewish origins. He has the misfortune to fall in love with a prostitute who leads him on and ultimately places the evidence that damns him in his apartment. He is a strange isolated man. Suspicion falls upon him simply because he is different.
Chris Shaffer
Nov 18, 2007 Chris Shaffer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of camus, sarte, weird french people
Shelves: nyrb, crime
One of Simenon's only "psychological" novels, this was a rather gripping tale of a lonely man that is targeted as a the killer in a recent murder. Keeps you guessing until the end...

The interesting thing about his non-detective novels is that they have no fixed sense of right and wrong, there doesn't seem to be "justice" as we see it in conventional mystery novels. Like Paul Auster's New York Trilogy, the ending ends up raising more questions than answering them. It's fun to be so let down by yo
Richard McDonough
A brilliant film was made from this book. I like Simenon's novels, not a fan of his policiers. This short novel was not well written, I thought. The notions are fine and finally we get the underlying social problem of incipient anti-semitism revealed (the film did not include that) but the language, in English, was not pleasing. If I live long enough I will read the original and know more.
May 12, 2014 Annie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic read that really makes you think. I may be one of the only people that adores Mr Hire, but I felt protective over him throughout the book. Simenon exposes the characters for what they really are, and shows you the unfortunate side of human nature. I highly recommend it and as it is a short book, a definite quick read.

Aug 30, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir, in-translation
An excellent example of Simenon's romans durs. I also liked that NYRB had an afterword, rather than a forward. The discussion of the novel in the afterword was far more interesting having already read the story being discussed.
Dec 21, 2015 ΠανωςΚ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Σκέτη απόλαυση η ανάγνωση, που δεν μπόρεσε να τη χαλάσει ούτε η στα όρια της βλακείας σποϊλεριά, σε ό,τι αφορά την υπόθεση, που υπάρχει εν είδει blurb στο οπισθόφυλλο του βιβλίου.
Genevieve Speegle
This French novel follows Mr. Hire as he's suspected of murdering a prostitute. Because he's a sketchy, lonely man, detectives follow his every move assuming he's guilty, even though nothing ties him to the crime.

He falls in a type of love with a woman across from his flat, and he watches her through the window each night.

While the author is famous for simply writing a character's actions and not their motivations, it seemed a bit confusing at times. I never fully understood the woman Alice's pe
Daniel Polansky
Obviously, Simenon has an enormous reputation both in his native France and throughout the world (I read something somewhere that he was the best selling author of the 20th century. This cannot possibly be true, can it?) Prior to this I'd only read a few of his Maigret stories, about a taciturn giant who investigates crimes, and thought they were acceptable though not exceptional entries in the detective sub genre. The Engagement is very much not in that vein, being more comparable, I suppose, t ...more
Marika Bonuccelli
Jul 06, 2016 Marika Bonuccelli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una prostituta viene trovata morta nella periferia di Parigi. Dell'omicidio sarà accusato il signor Hire che rappresenta la scelta più semplice: un uomo poco socievole, solitario, strano, frequentatore di bordelli, soprannominato "il mostro". Ogni sera, dalla finestra di casa sua, spia la domestica Alice di cui poi si innamorerà e che seguirà ogni domenica quando lei uscirà insieme al compagno. Alice si accorgerà di essere seguita e spiata e ne approfitterà per trarre Hire in inganno e manipolar ...more
Colin N.
Jul 25, 2011 Colin N. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Engagement," one of Simenon's romans durs, or psychological novels, tells the sad tale of Mr. Hire, a chubby, quiet, introverted man who lives a simple life. He operates his business selling postcard painting sets, goes to dinner alone in the same restaurant everyday, and bowls once a week at a bowling club (although he does not socialize much with anyone). When a prostitute is murdered nearby, his landlord, neighbors, and the police are quick to finger him as a suspect as he is unattractiv ...more
Dec 04, 2016 Naila_ rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-ebooks
Ci sono dei libri che ti lasciano entusiasta. Ci sono dei libri che ti lasciano noia o irritazione. E poi ci sono quei libri che, semplicemente, non ti lasciano niente: "Il fidanzamento del signor Hire" è uno di questi.
Nessun elemento che me lo faccia piacere, nessun elemento che me lo faccia disprezzare: nulla. È una storia piatta, che non entusiasma e che non annoia.
Lo stile di scrittura è piacevole, scorrevole. Le descrizioni della vita di condominio così appropriate e affascinanti, ma i pers
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Nick Tramdack
May 09, 2011 Nick Tramdack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing noir... here's how it happens...

-9: Spare descriptive technique: "The boulevards were emptier than usual. People were huddled in small groups around the braziers. The asphalt was white from the frost."
-11: [how exact: "It was warm, but their feet were frozen."
-25: "He went past the port d'Italie and the city tollgates, preceded by the small gray cloud of his breath."
-48: "The act of reasoning had made her seem more intelligent than usual."
-70: overwhelmingly noir paragraph: "He stop
Brian Carless
Jun 25, 2008 Brian Carless rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is something so distinctive and so, well, Simenon about the work of Georges Simenon. His non-Maigret stories can be particularly bleak and this is no exception. Simenon's novel takes place in a world of working class people and petty crime. Mr. Hire is bland, overweight and himself a petty criminal blithly and readily leads himself into being framed for a murder commited by the boyfriend of the much younger neighbor he is infatuated with. Does he do this willingly, does he care? We don't r ...more
Apr 30, 2013 Alisea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Villejuif è l'estrema periferia di Parigi: oltre, non c'è che la campagna bianca di brina. È qui che la polizia ha rinvenuto il cadavere di una prostituta. Solo un mostro può avere commesso un simile delitto. E chi altri può essere, il Mostro, se non il signor Hire, che tutti scansano con un brivido? Il signor Hire è piccolo, grasso, come se non fosse fatto né di carne né di ossa. Sul suo viso cereo spiccano baffetti che sembrano disegnati con la china. Tutti i suoi gesti hanno la rigida precisi ...more
Apr 05, 2016 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is really a remarkable little book, a dark, almost surrealistic chronicle of an innocent man who is hounded unmercifully for a brutal murder that he did not commit. Mr. Hire is a virtually faceless, characterless person, and Simenon's physical descriptions of him are remarkable. For example: "One sensed in him neither flesh nor bone, nothing but soft, flaccid matter...Very red lips stood out from orb-like face." Mr. Hire has, however, several secret existences, which is usually the case in ...more
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NYRB Classics: The Engagement, by Georges Simenon 1 5 Oct 22, 2013 09:18PM  
  • The Expendable Man
  • Count d'Orgel's Ball
  • Sunflower
  • The Sleeping Car Murders
  • Fatale
  • Mr. Fortune's Maggot; and, The Salutation
  • In Love
  • Wish Her Safe at Home
  • Chaos and Night
  • The Child
  • Devil take the Blue-tail Fly
  • Trial and Error
  • No Tomorrow
  • Transit
  • Novels in Three Lines
  • The Big Clock
  • Varieties of Exile
  • Niki: The Story of a Dog
Simenon was one of the most prolific writers of the twentieth century, capable of writing 60 to 80 pages per day. His oeuvre includes nearly 200 novels, over 150 novellas, several autobiographical works, numerous articles, and scores of pulp novels written under more than two dozen pseudonyms. Altogether, about 550 million copies of his works have been printed.

He is best known, however, for his 75
More about Georges Simenon...

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“C'era un'atmosfera da domenica sera, quando ci si sente fiacchi senza aver fatto nulla, invasi da un molle torpore, e i minuti scorrono più lenti che gli altri giorni.” 2 likes
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