Friday, September 23, 2011

Discovering a Master

I've just whipped through two amazing books by Georges Simenon, the incredibly prolific Belgian writer who created the iconic Inspector Maigret mystery series. Simenon published nearly 200 novels and numerous short works, often staying in one room for two weeks while a book poured out of him in a sort of trance.

I read The Widow and The Strangers in the House, stand alone novels and they were simply masterful. Simenon, using straightforward prose, pulls you into a world that is permeated with quiet menace. This is superb writing.

In 1966, Simenon won the Grand Master Award from the MWA -- and he was under serious consideration for the Nobel Prize for Literature!

If you're in the mood for menace, and want to be transported to a vividly wrought, atmospheric world that seems somehow apart from our own, I can't recommend him too highly. I can't wait to get started on Maigret!


Robin Allen said...

There's that famous story about Simenon that he was so prolific, if he finished a book in the middle of a writing session, he would insert another piece of paper into the typewriter and start a new one. Wow, right?

Vicki Doudera said...

Okay, Seb, you've whetted my appetite! The Fanny Flag that my mom lent it me is just not doing it for me. I'll head to the library and check out Monsier Simenon. Merci!

Deborah Sharp said...

Great post, Seb. Amazing, too, that back in the day he was being considered for a Nobel prize in literature. Don't think they'd do that these days for writers of mystery, considered by many to be be ''just'' genre writers.
PS: So sorry I briefly hijacked your post today by posting one atop it ... it was a technology screw-up on my part (unfortunately not a rare event for me!)

Keith Raffel said...

Too many of the old masters are overlooked now. My godson wrote his thesis on Maigret and how he reflected his times. Something to keep in mind when reading him.

G.M. Malliet said...

I love Simenon and at one time read a ton of his books. I have always meant to return to reading him one day. You know how that read less the more you write.

Beth Groundwater said...

Those old masters can certainly teach us current-day mystery writers a thing or two. I've recently read some P. G. Wodehouse and Roald Dahl, and immensely enjoyed both.