George Simenon

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.

The Man Who Watched Trains Go By has just arrived to Bloom. There are no trains in Macau though, probably, if he can jump the line, he can keep looking at the pages of other books. This is one of the fresh paperbacks from the New York Review of Books, a great publisher with an unmissable collection of books you can now get in at Bloom Station.

Every artist has a personality, his own spectacles through which he sees the world; by his spectacles he is known, and we decide whether we like his work or not. Simenon's spectacles may be said to be of pure glass, distorting nothing... A copy of a Simenon book can be said to appear somewhere, in some language, every few minutes around the clock. It almost matches the birth rate, and the product is considerably more interesting.
Kees Popinga is a solid Dutch burgher whose idea of a night on the town is a game of chess at his club. Or so it has always appeared. But one night this model husband and devoted father discovers his boss is bankrupt and that his own carefully tended life is in ruins. Before, he had looked on impassively as the trains to the outside world swept by; now he catches the first train he can to Amsterdam. Not long after that, he commits murder.
Kees Popinga is tired of being Kees Popinga. He's going to turn over a new leaf—though there will be hell to pay.

The Man Who Watched Trains Go By, by Georges Simenon
Translated from the French by Marc Romano • Introduction by Luc Sante


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