Monday, April 23, 2012

Simenon and the man who didn't stay to lunch

Circumstances conspired against it. The damp cold on its own might've kept me home with a book and a blanket, but Earth Day manifestations meant roads were blocked and kept other people away from the downtown core and the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival.

Despite a handful of people having expressed interest in Lunch and Literature: A Georges Simenon Salon, only one gentleman actually showed up. He was there with a genuine enthusiasm for Simenon, but he's also on the festival board of directors, and he absolved me of the responsibility of lunching with him. I admit I was a little disappointed, as he claimed to have read all 400 Simenon books, and I'm sure he could've told me a thing or two.

Evidently Joyce Carol Oates, who wrote an introduction to Three Bedrooms in Manhattan, did not feel obligated to attend.

It does make wonder who are all these people reading Simenon and responsible for the renaissance Simenon is reportedly enjoying. Is it you? (Drop me a line. I'm seriously interested in the demographics of the Simenon appeal.)

I have not yet finished all the homework I'd assigned myself. I'm still reading a biography of Simenon. There are a lot of facts in it. And I know for a fact that Simenon was a very interesting man. But ohmygawd-it-is-sssoooo-boring-shoot-me-now. I will skim through what's left of it in hopes of finding some meaningful insight, but I doubt I will find anything worth sharing with you. Simply, I would so much rather be reading a Simenon than reading about Simenon.

I have posted a version of my discussion notes, along with some supplemental material, to their own page. (These notes are subject to further editing for clarity and flow.)

These notes are deliberately very general in nature — even had the event attracted a full room, given Simenon's output there's no guarantee there'd be any overlap in the books everyone had read. The idea was to talk about Simenon in a general way and examine the attraction to his works via some common themes, with a focus on the romans durs (as opposed to the Maigret mysteries). You may find these notes useful in your own discussions on Simenon.

I will consider fleshing out this page with other Simenon resource material. For example, I'd like to add short (50-word) synopses of Simenon titles, something I'd started doing for my own easy reference.

Anyway. I'll keep reading Simenon, and maybe we can try to meet up for lunch again next year.
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