Brian Carless's Reviews > The Engagement

The Engagement by Georges Simenon
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M_50x66
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Jun 25, 08


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 really know. This is a psychological novel without psychology. This isn't 'They Shoot Horses, Don't They'. Simenon's characters live in a sensible world but events lead them in such a way so that they can't make sense of it. Simenon is also not the literary stylist that Raymond Chandler is. Yet he holds up extremely well in translation from the French. Perhaps the closest analog in American literature is James M. Cain; more 'Double Indemnity' than 'The Postman always Rings Twice'. The prose is equally compelling. Perhaps it helps that this book, like most of his others, is relatively short.
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