Saturday, January 29, 2011

Georges Simenon's "The Strangers In The House"

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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