Tosh's Reviews > The Strangers in the House

The Strangers in the House by Georges Simenon
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's review
Jan 29, 2011

liked it
Recommended for: Hardcore Simenon fans
Read from January 01, 2008 to January 29, 2011

Not my favorite Simenon book, but still it's interesting and quite good. Reading the plot line is actually better than the book for some reason. And again it could have been a mood thing at the time of the reading of this book. Nevertheless Georges Simenon's work is pretty amazing. He has this cold or cool overlook of everything. He really doesn't judge his characters, which is great.

January 29, 2011,

I just re-read the book and my overall thoughts are the same, but what impresses me about Simenon''s writing is how he portrays a very strange and sort of scary world. The novel takes place in France during the Occupation, yet there is no mention of it. And the main character is someone who pretty much dropped out of his culture. Once a successful and important lawyer he became a reclusive drunk in his big home. What set it off was his wife running off with someone else many years back - yet I suspect that wasn't the reason for his drinking and his disgust for the culture around him (Occupation?)

In fact he pretty much ignores the world around him - including things that go bump into his household. A murder takes place upstairs from his room, and he wasn't even aware that people were holding meetings, and leaving off stolen loot on his property. And even worse, his daughter was involved in the gang as well.

Perhaps this is sort of a symbol of the Occupation itself, where there were some who just buried their head into their lives and totally ignore their surroundings (?) The crime and narrative is not that interesting to me, but of course what is not being said directly is what's interesting about the novel. Not my favorite Simenon, but nevertheless an interesting book, in context with the world at the time.
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Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-7 of 7) </span> <span class="smallText">(7 new)</span>

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message 1: by Ken (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ken I agree... not his best work, but a great read nonetheless, and the Loursat character is so well done, you can't help but enjoy the story.

Tosh Loursat is a great character. It would have been interesting if Simenon kept him as a running character in a Detective series. Maybe with his daughter as his assistant.

message 3: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim Interesting insight, Tosh. I had a similar reaction, but I can totally see what you're saying about the lawyer's withdrawal and slide into dissolution is a metaphor for the Occupation.

message 4: by F.R. (new)

F.R. I've never read Simeon, where do you think I should begin?

Tosh For sure any of the books that are published by the New York Review of Books. All his stuff is good, but I would start with the novels published by that press.

message 6: by F.R. (new)

F.R. Thank you.

Tosh Also the great press Melville House will be publishing some of his work as well. Starting this Sping!

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