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Tropic Moon

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  471 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Newly translated for this edition.

A young Frenchman, Joseph Timar, travels to Gabon carrying a letter of introduction from an influential uncle. He wants work experience; he wants to see the world. But in the oppressive heat and glare of the equator, Timar doesn't know what to do with himself, and no one seems inclined to help except Adèle, the hotel owner's wife, who take
Paperback, 134 pages
Published August 31st 2005 by NYRB Classics (first published 1933)
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Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Hanneke by: Tristan
Joseph Timar, 23 years old, from a good bourgeois family in provincial France, lands at Libreville, Gabon, to take up a job at a timber company. The job had been arranged by his distinguished uncle, a well-known politician. That the uncle is such a well-known person certainly opens doors for Timar, but it does nothing to elevate his loneliness or make him a popular person with the woodloggers, the only white people in the area who frequent the hotel where he is staying. The hotel is run with a c ...more
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
A deliciously compressed little colonial nightmare. Less apocalyptic in tone than that other- more culturally entrenched - literary work of anti-colonialism Heart of Darkness, but infinitely more insidious. One can almost sense the moral and physical putrefaction rise from the pages, slowly invading the system like a tropical fever.

My first of Simenon's romans durs, and it won't be the last.
Nov 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Δεν τρελάθηκα....
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Le coup de lune ...titolo intrigante , promettente
e invece ... maddeché!!
La storia è esile e confusa ,il protagonista un babbeo infantile e isterico
Questo romanzo gronda sudore
gronda meschinità e maschilismo (alla ennesima potenza del colonialismo )
Au revoir monsieur Simenon ! :)
(e io che volevo La Marie du port , ma era ancora in prestito!)
Friederike Knabe
Oct 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Reading an early Simenon mystery today is as much entertainment as it is a trip into the past. This in especially true for Tropic Moon ("Coup de lune"), originally published in 1933, one of three novels set in Africa. It was also an early example of Simenon's "romans durs" - psychological dramas rather than a Maigret-type detective story that Simenon has been famous for. Having traveled and worked in several countries in Africa for much of 1932, Simenon's personal exposure to the harsh realities ...more
George K.
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
Πέμπτο βιβλίο του Ζορζ Σιμενόν που διαβάζω και δηλώνω για ακόμα μια φορά ικανοποιημένος και ευχαριστημένος, τόσο από την ίδια την ιστορία, όσο και από την γραφή. Το βιβλίο αυτό ανήκει πιο πολύ στα κοινωνικά μυθιστορήματα του συγγραφέα -με λίγα στοιχεία εγκλήματος-, παρά στην αστυνομική λογοτεχνία. Δεν είναι ένα θρίλερ που ψάχνεις να βρεις τον δολοφόνο, που έχει ανατροπές ή μυστήριο. Καμία σχέση. Όσοι θέλουν να διαβάσουν κάτι τέτοιο, ας πιάσουν άλλο βιβλίο. Εδώ έχουμε να κάνουμε με ένα δραματικό ...more
Jan 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Okay, I am entirely unsure how this Simenon escaped me for so long, especially considering there is little I love more than mental/metaphysical/physiological unraveling deep in the swarthy throes of hostile geography... that we MUST confront such intensity even though we know it's only going to lead us to madness, malaria, parasites both metaphorical and too squirming through the intestines perhaps shuck comfort just to come out of the slime with a story to tell...we should always g ...more
You know that feeling when you are slightly hungover - clammy, mild smell of off spirits about you, small headache behind your eyes that's threatening to erupt - and you are stuck somewhere claustrophobic, overly warm, and inescapable. Such as a meeting room or a bus. No windows can be opened, the heating is too high, there are too many people in the space, you just have to make it through before you pass out or succumb to building nausea that wasn't there before you stepped into this space, and ...more
Roger Brunyate
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: africa

Simenon, the author of over 100 stories featuring Inspector Maigret, did not abandon his skills as a crime writer when writing his serious novels, or romans durs, of which Tropic Moon (1933) is one of the first. There is the same laconic straightforward style, the same ability to capture the atmosphere of a setting in a few sentences, and the same interest in those dark areas that lie outside the law. There is a murder here, quite early on in the book, but Simenon's focus is not on who comm
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: france, africa, simenon
A well-connected young man with a weak character goes to Gabon to make his fortune in the Colonies. The young man, Joseph Timar, takes up with Adele Renaud, an innkeeper whose husband dies -- right around the same time that she is suspected of the murder of a black named Thomas. Tropic Moon is the first of Georges Simenon's romans durs to be set outside of France.

Despite being warned by his politico uncle back in France to beware of partnerships, he takes up with Adele to run a lumber concession
Bud Smith
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tropic Moon was not nice, was ugly, and skin crawling, but that's worth something. It's pulp fiction setup is transcended here, without any tricks, just by the skill of the author, who writes with a clarity to be admired. A book without heroes. A book about the sliding away of the mind. Over all, well written, I did care at page 1 and I did care at the end. This novel got Simenon banned from the west Africa french colonies.

In french the title is Moonburn or Moonstroke and while Tropic Moon is a
Scott Munden
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Even by Simenon's high standards, this is a mesmerizing novel. A literal reading tells the story of Joseph Timar who leaves France for Gabon with a prospect of a job. The job falls through and Timar is left in a state of limbo amongst Libreville's inhabitants. The tone of the novel becomes increasingly feverish with every turn of the page. In the end, I had to ask myself if Timar ever was in Gabon or was it all a fever dream experienced within some French asylum. The ambiguity is quintessential ...more
Stelios Panayiotakis
Βραδυφλεγές διήγημα, με το κέντρο βάρους να μετακυλίεται στην ποιότητα της [περι]γραφής και την ατμόσφαιρα, όχι στο μυστήριο και την ιστορία per se. Ο G. Simenon έχει παραδώσει μακράν καλύτερα αναγνώσματα: Το αστυνομικό νουάρ τού βγαίνει περισσότερο αβίαστα.
Mar 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-maigret
Gabun um 1930, ein junger Franzose sucht sein Glück in den Kolonien. Durch Protektion seines Onkels zu einer Stelle bei einer ansässigen Firma gelangt, hofft hier das Geld zu machen, was ihm in der Heimat vermeintlich verwehrt blieb. Doch der Traum zerplatzt schnell, die Firma eigentlich pleite, sein Arbeitsplatz besetzt. Durch Langeweile und Unkenntnis der örtlichen Umstände rutscht er erst in eine Liebschaft, dann in einen Mordkomplott. Er fühlt sich hintergangen, ausgenutzt und unverstanden. ...more
Jul 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: ..close-of-empire trainspotters..
More chronicles of the breakdown of meaning at the edges of empire. Brings to mind other expatriate novels from Maugham in Malaya & Orwell in Burma, to Burgess in his trilogy called The Long Day Wanes, or Lowry with Under The Volcano. And Conrad, of course, whose Heart Of Darkness would surely have been familiar to Simenon.

A short and very brutal account of an innocent thrust into the dire circumstances of French Colonial Africa, sometime in the Thirties. What this most calls to mind with i
May 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel-the-world
A young Frenchman goes to Gabon (a French Colony in the 30s)to work in his family's company. He reaches Libreville, but is prevented from going further into the interior where the factory is located (at first) The book reminds me of Paul Bowles The Sheltering Sky, where foreigners are irrevocably changed by spending time in Africa (in a bad way). What bothered me about the book is that he didn't care about the locals much, in fact didn't seem to really notice them.
Nov 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Compelling novel about the evils of colonialism sans the obtrusive lecturing of Kingsolver' Poisonwood Bible. Although the introduction by Norman Rush discusses some similarities between Simenon and Graham Greene, I though this book was much closer to Orwell's Bumese Days. Captivating, sparse writing. Like Hemingway but less forced and more seamless. This is my first Simenon novel and it left me wanting more.
Feb 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
This is a searing indictment of 1930's white colonial attitudes and behaviour towards the native black population in the French colony of Gabon. The murder mystery is so so and dated. What remains in the memory is the heat and the sweat and the callous, horrible treatment of black Africans by arrogant, cruel and corrupt white Europeans.
Charles Dee Mitchell
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Sex, murder, privilege, racism, and all the nastiness of French Colonial rule in Gabon circa 1930. The only thing that could make this book more satisfying would be if it was only 130 pages long. Wait -- it is 130 boozy, feverish pages long. A perfect afternoon read.
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
Very reminiscent of Graham Greene, this short book is set in Gabon in the 1930s. Young Frenchman Joe Timar has arrived in Libreville to take up a job in the interior. He discovers that the company is just about going under, there is no way to get upriver and his predecessor is threatening to shoot him on sight if he appears. Stuck at the hotel he has time to observe his fellow colonialists and gets involved with Adele, the soon to be widowed owner of the hotel. Quite a sad tale, watching him suc ...more
Νίκος Καραμπάτσος
Ατμοσφαιρικο γεματο κινηματογραφικες σκηνες,εχει γυριστει μαλιστα και ταινια.
Χωρις ιδιαιτερη πλοκη και χωρις καθολου αγωνια,ο ηρωας του Σιμενον ταξιδευει απ τη Γαλλια στη Γκαμπον για δουλειες.Εκει ερωτευεται τη Αντελ η οποια εχει διαπραξει φονο εναντια στον Αφρικανο Τομα.
Ενα φονο που θα τον αποδωσουν σε καποιον επισης Αφρικανο προκειμενου ν απαλλαγει η λευκη Αντελ απ αυτον.
Μικροθεωριες συνομωσιας και η μη αποδοση δικαιοσυνης θα οδηγησουν τον Τιμαρ,κεντρικο ηρωα,στο σεληνιασμο.
Sarah Mcgrath
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sort of French version of Heart of Darkness, a study of increasing madness and a criticism of the colonial system. I could almost feel the oppressive heat. Fascinating.
Craig Thompson
May 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
The two things I admire most about Simenon are firstly, his restraint; secondly, his empathy.

The prose is minimalist, simple, and direct. My high school English teacher would write "more succinct" on everything I'd write-- Simenon's style is just that. The mantra is in effect tenfold here.

Events are compressed into sentence shots, more jolting than calvados and pernot. It is a very immediate style. His staccato descriptive volleys, "Lunch. A stupefying snooze. Cocktail. Dinner..." (p.52) are ru
Jul 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-tour
Georges Simenon wrote the very good series of policiers featuring Inspector Maigret about the operation and application of law and justice. He also wrote what he called his romans durs, hard, uncompromising, uncomfortable and somewhat psychological tales. This one, set in Gabon, could be said to be about the operation of injustice in the absence of a rule of law. It is a searing indictment of French colonialism and its influence, ironically called le process civilisé, (and by extension of all fo ...more
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Not as splashy or fun as most of the other Simenons I've read but it's clear that he is stepping nimbly (rather than lightly) through a very loaded and traumatic subject. I was very thankful for the excellent Norman Rush introduction to the NYRB edition, which aside from its insight into the linguistic anomalies, also gave some background on Simenon's own complicated relationship with French African colonialism. It was a much richer reading experience after essay than it would have been without ...more
Aaron Mcquiston
Nov 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nyrb-classics
Georges Simenon seems to have the ability to grow any type of story out of very little. Even though we can look at the social context of the novel, the white stranger deep in Africa in a place where they treat the natives like clowns and women as objects to use. This is a shock to Joseph Timar who comes to Africa to work for a company, SACOVA. The hotel/bar owner, Adele and her husband own becomes a hub of the many mischief people. A boy gets killed and it changes Timar's adventure in Africa. Ti ...more
Dina Goluza
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Knjigu sam počela čitati radi izazova u ATW in 80 books . Trebala mi je knjiga za Gabon i ovo je bila jedina koju sam mogla nabaviti (hvala Dahlia). Simenon Georges mi je bio poznat samo po knjigama o inspektoru Maigret kojih sam par i pročitala.

Unatoč svim predrasudama koje sam u stratu imala počela sam čitati knjigu i ostala PAF!!! Knjiga je stvarno dobra. Radnja se zbiva u Gabonu u periodu dok je još bio francuska kolonija. Glavni junak (daleko je on od junaka) Joseph Timar dolazi iz Francusk
Adam  McPhee
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: africa
Fever dream colonialism. Completely malarial. Better than Joseph Conrad and all your Apocalypse Nows. Even better than Fitzcarraldo (I always found the backstory better than the movie: Kinski shooting into the tent, the Peruvian natives offering to kill Kinski, Herzog not realizing they disassembled the boat before dragging it over the mountain). The intro compares it to Dr. Destouches's writings about Africa in Journey to the End of the Night, and yeah, I'd say that's about where it belongs in ...more
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Simenon, Georges. TROPIC MOON. (1933). ****.
Set in French West Africa (Gabon) this is the story of Joseph Timar, a young Frenchman sent there by his family in France to make his fortune. When he arrives at Libreville, he soon learns that the company he was to work for is essentially bankrupt. He hangs around the bar of his hotel and soon has a torrid affair with Adele, the wife of the owner. Adele is black and in her thirties – about ten years older than Timar – but made to represent all the e
Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
A feverish nightmare of a book, and totally unlike "Pietr the Latvian," Simenon's Inspector Maigret crime novel that I read immediately prior. This one concerns itself with the mental, moral, and physical disintegration of a young Frenchman, Joseph Timar, who travels to Gabon to work and experience the world beyond Europe. However, he is quickly undone by heat, sexual intrigue, alcohol, boredom, isolation, and illness. What becomes obvious is the cruel, offhand treatment of the African locals, a ...more
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NYRB Classics: Tropic Moon, by Georges Simenon 1 3 Oct 31, 2013 04:02AM  
  • The Radiance of the King
  • Fatale
  • Varieties of Exile
  • Proud Beggars
  • My Fantoms
  • The Furies
  • The Expendable Man
  • The Life of Henry Brulard
  • The Other House
  • Pages from the Goncourt Journals
  • Skylark
  • Chaos and Night
  • An African in Greenland
  • Conquered City
  • During the Reign of the Queen of Persia
  • Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky
  • Memoirs of Montparnasse
  • The Wycherly Woman
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