Georges Simenon (1903–1989) was born in Liège, Belgium. He went to work as a reporter at the age of fifteen and in 1923 moved to Paris, where under various pseudonyms he became a highly successful and prolific author of pulp fiction while leading a dazzling social life. In the early 1930s, Simenon emerged as a writer under his own name, gaining renown for his detective stories featuring Inspector Maigret. He also began to write his psychological novels, or romans durs—books in which he displays a sympathetic awareness of the emotional and spiritual pain underlying the routines of daily life. Having written nearly two hundred books under his own name and become the best-selling author in the world, Simenon retired as a novelist in 1973, devoting himself instead to dictating several volumes of memoirs.
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Though a family man and a reasonably successful doctor, Charles Alavoine has grown dissatisfied with his existence. A casual liaison seems to promise the release he longs for, but its consequences are far deadlier than he’d anticipated. Simenon’s thriller is at once a personal confession and an indictment of modern society’s deadening moral codes.
Simenon’s longest and most personal novel: “Simenon brings to life in Pedigree the whole sensory world of his childhood in Liège. His words capture the sounds, sights, tastes, smells, and textures of the city… Simenon does for Liège what the young Joyce did for Dublin: he evokes the city with such immediacy that we feel we’ve walked in its streets.” —Lucille Frackman Becker
Two outcasts, a widow and a recently released murderer, become involved in a love triangle with the girl next door. Published in the same year and often compared to The Stranger, The Widow is one of Simenon’s most powerful and disturbing romans durs.
One of the most chilling and compassionate of Simenon’s extraordinary psychological novels, The Engagement explores the mystery of a blameless heart in a compromised soul.
In The Strangers in the House, Georges Simenon, master chronicler of the dark side of the human heart, gives us a detective story that is also a tale of an improbable redemption.
Red Lights, one of Simenon’s romans durs, is a dark and brilliant gaze at marriage, and is Simenon writing the American psyche at his best.
How different are the cautious routines of ordinary life from the compulsions of a killer? How reliable is even the most reliable man’s identity? What finally is the truth about a person?
In Tropic Moon, Simenon, the master of the psychological novel, offers an incomparable picture of degeneracy and corruption in a colonial outpost.
Unsurpassed as an evocation of milieu, whether of staid bourgeois propriety or waterfront seediness, Monsieur Monde Vanishes is another triumph by the twentieth century’s greatest popular novelist.
An actor and a divorcée meet in a deserted New York City bar. With little in common save loneliness, middle age, and a presentiment of escape, they improvise a love story.
Dirty Snow, widely acknowledged as one of Simenon’s finest books, is a study of the criminal mind comparable to Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me.