Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Subtler, almost invisible

Sometimes, as if carelessly, Michel's and Louise's looks met. The warned each other not to stay too long. In fact, their eyes touched, as lightly as birds, while an expression of almost childish contentment spread across the Rumanian's face as he hurriedly bent over his plate.

The change on the young girl's face was subtler, almost invisible; it wasn't joy. There was no sparkle in it, it was more like a look of serenity and satisfaction.

It was as though she had matured, as though she suddenly felt a great potential richness inside her.
I'd almost forgotten how much I love Simenon. My reading of late has felt pretty blah; maybe that throws Simenon into relief. I love Simenon!

I loved Account Unsettled! I love that I found this book in Prague! I love that it's my daughter who pulled me into this shop for some inexplicable reason! I love this book's funky smell! I love its atrocious cover!

The cover — the description in combination with the illustration — might lead you to believe that this book is about a crime of passion with a woman at its source. But there is no passion in this crime; it's very cold. And the woman has nothing to do with it.

This 1953 novel is one of Simenon's romans durs and does not feature Maigret. It opens in Li├Ęge, and then quite unexpectedly shifts in time and space to Arizona some decades later. From the claustrophobia of a house marked by hunger and chills to the gluttonous emptiness of resort in a vast sweaty desert. A study in contrasts.

Page after page we have been waiting for Elie, a poor, ugly Polish-Lithuanian Jew pursuing a doctorate in mathematics, to gun down Michel, the handsome, charming, womanizing Jewish Rumanian of means.

It's not a matter of jealousy, it's justice, Elie convinces himself. But did Michel even ever give him a second thought?

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