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The President

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3.58  ·  Rating details ·  194 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Restored to print for the first time in more than forty years, The President was hailed by the New York Times as a “tour de force”

At 82, the former premier lives in alert and suspicious retirement—self exile—on the Normandy coast, writing his anxiously anticipated memoirs and receiving visits from statesman and biographers. In his library is the self-condemning, handwritte
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Paperback, Neversink Library, 152 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Melville House Publishing (first published 1958)
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Manny
The old reviewer closes the book. Once, he would automatically have written something; now it always seems like too much trouble. All the same, this novel has stirred him into an unaccustomed state of activity. He reaches his hand towards the laptop, but the switch isn't where he expects it. He fumbles around.

Of course, it's on the left. He was thinking of the old machine. How long ago was that? He shrugs, turns it on, opens the editor - he stubbornly insists on using Emacs - and increases the
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Richard Derus
Feb 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Rating: 3.8* of five

The Publisher Says: Restored to print for the first time in more than forty years, The President was hailed by the New York Times as a “tour de force.”

At 82, the former premier lives in alert and suspicious retirement—self exile—on the Normandy coast, writing his anxiously anticipated memoirs and receiving visits from statesman and biographers. In his library is the self-condemning, handwritten confession of the premier’s former attaché, Chalamont, hidden between the pages of
...more
KOMET
Simenon has crafted a thoughtful, interesting short novel about a former French Premier, who, in his prime, had been a master political operator and adroit manipulator of people. Now, in his early 80s, retired from politics, quasi infirm, and living on a small estate in Normandy with a small staff attentive to his needs and whims, he reflects upon his life and career. He comes to realize that for all his secretive, circumspect ways, he is being spied upon. But by whom? What's more: his former pr ...more
Jennifer
Feb 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while, I fall in love with a particular publisher. The first time I remember it happening was with Soft Skull Press. Then, the New York Review Books. There have been other, more fleeting crushes, of course, but when I'm fully in love with a publisher, I haunt their website, constructing long wishlists of titles. I consider how many books I'd have to buy at once to get the wholesale discount. In bookstores, I look for a certain spine dimension, color scheme, logo. Right now, I am ...more
Jim Coughenour
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
A mildly interesting book, unlike the usual Simenon (whether Maigret or roman dur), apparently based on Georges Clemenceau, who was France's Prime Minister in the closing years of World War I. The President is a study in stasis, an aging politician living alone at the edge of the sea attended only by his servants, austere, isolated, contemptuous, and still somewhat enchanted by his own myth – which of course crumbles as the book very deliberately unfolds. As usual I enjoy Simenon's style most, t ...more
Paul
Read it in English - a novelette about fame,ignominy and dying - pas mal!
Jan
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in power and personal integrity
Shelves: classics, politics, death
I read this book after Manny's review. made me curious. He captures the feel and the point of the book perfectly. There is great peace at the end of this book. I can only hope that old age brings insight, acceptance, and forgiveness like this for me.

Alzy
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this insight into the life of a statesman. Also, the description of old age was quite moving - I think it gave me better understanding of what my grandmother is going through. But I must point out that although the translation is very good, the lack of proofreading is evident.
Hugh Laybourn
Oct 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
fascinating study of the last times of a powerful leader
Michel Ball
slow - Somewhat annoying account about a formerly important politician - his everyday life among his servants - his memories - his deceptions - his descent to his final hour
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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
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