Nineteen-year-old Frank Friedmaier lives in a country under occupation. Most people struggle to get by; Frank takes it easy in his mother’s whorehouse, which caters to members of the occupying forces. But Frank is restless. He is a pimp, a thug, a petty thief, and, as Dirty Snow opens, he has just killed his first man. Through the unrelenting darkness and cold of an endless winter, Frank will pursue abjection until at last there is nowhere to go.
Hans Koning has described Dirty Snow as “one of the very few novels to come out of German-occupied France that gets it exactly right.” In a study of the criminal mind that is comparable to Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me, Simenon maps a no man’s land of the spirit in which human nature is driven to destruction—and redemption, perhaps, as well—by forces beyond its control.
Dirty Snow is an astonishing work.
— John Banville, The New Republic
Simenon perfected a psychology-driven alternative to the plot heavy intrigues of British and US crime writing.
— Bord Tonkin, The Independent
For my part I know of no better way to pass the time on a plane from Nice to Athens or, say, from Rangoon to Singapore, than to read one of Simenon’s novels.
— Somerset Maugham
God created you to write like he created my father to paint. That is why you both do it so well.
— Jean Renoir, letter to Simenon
Georges Simenon is a recent discovery for me—not the Maigret books, but what Simenon called his “romans durs,” such as Dirty Snow and Three Bedrooms in Manhattan— and hard they are indeed. The latest of these New York Review Books reissues, Tropic Moon (translated from the French by Marc Romano) is a dark masterpiece set among French colonials in heart-of-darkness Gabon in the early 1930s. Cruel, erotic, frightening and superb.
— John Banville, The Los Angeles Times