John Banville on Georges Simenon’s ‘Act of Passion’
“The narrator of Simenon’s novel, Charles Alavoine….is middle-aged and twice married, with a couple of young daughters, but has never known real love until he encounters a young woman, Martine, at the railway station..He takes Martine home, to work as a nurse in his surgery. Their affair continues and intensifies under the noses of Charles’s ice-queen wife, Armande, and his aged mother. Another novelist might have made out of this ménage à quatre an enjoyably naughty little fiction, but the people in Simenon’s romans durs (“hard novels”), as he called his non-Maigret novels, are driven and helpless, and Act of Passion ends, as it must, in tragedy. Has there ever been a more penetrating account of love’s destructive power?” — John Banville, The Wall Street Journal
October 18, 2012, 4:34 p.m.