The Man Who Wasn't Maigret: Portrait of Georges Simenon

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9780140139273: The Man Who Wasn't Maigret: Portrait of Georges Simenon

Georges Simenon was, during his lifetime, the bestselling writer alive. He created Chief Inspector Maigret, one of the most-loved and sanest characters in modern fiction, but was himself an alcoholic, a fantasist, a man possessed by the demon of sexual jealousy, a crime writer whose own life was haunted by the possibility of crime. His stated ideal was family life, but he conducted a quarrel with his widowed mother that lasted for 50 years, and his own family life ended in catastrophe with the suicide of his daughter. He married twice and seduced hundreds of women, including Josephine Baker. Simenon's writing life was in itself quite a story. He wrote 193 novels under his own name and 200 under 17 pseudonyms. His sales were over 500 million in 55 languages. His admirers ranged from Celine and Colette to T.S. Eliot, Somerset Maugham, Fellini and George Steiner. The author, in this first portrait since Simenon's death, sets out to explain the connections between his childhood and his lifelong fascination with crime, and traces the relationship between the facts of his life and the tormented fiction he wrote. The author has interviewed many of the people who knew him, and has drawn upon Simenon's letters, papers and copious writings to produce this biography. Patrick Marnham's books include "Fantastic Invasions: Dispatches from Contemporary Africa", "So far from God: A Journey to Central America" and "Trail of Havoc: In the Steps of Lord Lucan".

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About the Author:

PATRICK MARNHAM is the award-winning author of the biographies The Man Who Wasn't Maigret, Dreaming with His Eyes Open: A Life of Diego Rivera, and Resistance and Betrayal: The Death and Life of the Greatest Hero of the French Resistance.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Many writers--as Marnham (Trail of Havoc, 1988) points out--head off biographers by destroying their papers. But Simenon (1903-89) left behind so many sources--a massive autobiography, 21 volumes of memoirs, and several earlier autobiographical sketches and novels-- that Marnham defines his job, with undue modesty, largely as referee to the phenomenally productive author's many versions of his life. The facts of Simenon's life are as florid as any biographer could wish. Self-taught reporter and columnist at age 15; intimate of Josephine Baker and Maurice Vlaminck; bestselling (500 million copies) author of over 200 novels (76 featuring Inspector Maigret) and 188 additional potboilers (written with a working vocabulary of 2,000 words); self-confessed lover of 10,000 women; recipient of tributes from fellow authors as diverse as Thornton Wilder, Henry Miller, and Andr‚ Gide--the public events of Simenon's life are fabulous. But Marnham is at his best not in detailing Simenon's successes but in illuminating the relation between his gray, guilt-ridden fiction and his tormented family life--whether the family is that of his adored father and despised mother; his complaisant first wife, R‚gine, and his long-time mistress, Boule; or his calculating second wife, Denyse, and the string of domestic helpers who doubled as paramours. Though Marnham gets bogged down in overprecise parallels between Simenon's family problems and particular novels, his easy command of his subject's life and work allows him not only to select among competing versions of the truth but to generalize with authority about Simenon's inveterate habit of fictionalizing his own life, so that ``his account of the experience became part of the experience''--especially the experience of categorical rejection (both of and by Simenon), which Marnham sees as decisive for an understanding of the man and his work. A biographical study that goes a long way toward illuminating the mystery of Simenon's life in fiction while fostering a healthy respect for that irreducible mystery--the process by which Simenon kept obsessively reinventing himself. (Photographs) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. The Man Who Wasn't Maigret: Portrait of Georges Simenon This book is in very good condition and will be shipped within 24 hours of ordering. The cover may have some limited signs of wear but the pages are clean, intact and the spine remains undamaged. This book has clearly been well maintained and looked after thus far. Money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. See all our books here, order more than 1 book and get discounted shipping. . Bookseller Inventory # 7719-9780140139273

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Book Description Penguin Books / Penguin Group, London, United Kingdom, 1993. Soft cover. Book Condition: Good. Circa 1993 - print runs stated 1 to 10. Colour illustrated front cover; photo of Simenon to back cover. Comprises mainly: author's note; chronology; 3 parts (14 chapters); illustrations; appendix; bibliography; selected works of Georges Simenon; index. First part is entitled 'The Scene of the Crime'. Illustrations - 2 maps and a number of photo plates. Xx plus 346 pages plus plates. Text is clean. Binding is quite tight but spine strip creased. Cover edges rubbed. A few surface marks to covers. #324.12. Bookseller Inventory # 011107

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