Sunday, December 05, 2010

Georges Simenon Update

Georges Simenon: Review of Pedigree by Nathaniel Rich - The Daily Beast: "Where do popular novelists go when they die? Harold Robbins, author of The Carpetbaggers and A Stone for Danny Fisher, sold 750 million books during his lifetime, but 13 years after his death his heirs struggle to keep him in print. Barbara Cartland, who sold more than a billion romance novels, was barely known outside of her genre even while she was alive. Sidney Sheldon, Enid Blyton, and Gilbert Patten, each of whom sold several hundred million books, are careening toward oblivion as rapidly.

Then there’s the case of Georges Simenon, whose nearly 200 novels have been purchased half a billion times. Simenon is now, 20 years since his death, enjoying a renaissance—not as a popular novelist, but as a critical darling. Simenon would be gratified by this. At 34, he predicted he’d win the Nobel Prize within 10 years, but he was dismissed as a hack by critics and the academy for the rest of his life. The fact that he published so often (about six titles a year) no doubt aroused the suspicion of critics who subscribed to the old myth that great novels require years of brooding concentration. Simenon boasted that writing a novel took him two weeks."

6 comments:

  1. I thought he was a "critics darling" even when he was alive; but I guess someone who writes at the lightening pace that Simenon wrote can't be considered "good" or "literary" until he's been dead a couple of decades. I love the Maigret novels; the non-Maigret books are hit-or-miss for me.

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  2. Anonymous9:27 AM

    I think George reviewed PEDIGREE fairly recently (he liked it). I haven't read it yet. I have read all of the Maigrets and a number of the non-series books.

    THE STAIN ON THE SNOW was the title I have for BLACK SNOW or whatever they are calling it now. (I've also seen THE SNOW WAS BLACK.) His books have been retitled a lot so be careful if you're going to read one.

    Jeff

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  3. He certainly was happy tooting his own horn to the max, but he did seem to really enjoy writing and living abundantly. I think he was quite a writer. I liked "The Little Saint" the best.

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  4. I'm reading his NOVEMBER right now. Strange little book.

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  5. I just saw a box with Simenons + othr MY on it, while looking for something else. I'll bet all the unread Maigrait PBs are in there.

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  6. One wonders what Stieg Larsson's and J.K. Rowling's reputations will be in a few years. Not quite what, say, Simenon's or Hammett's or Dr. Seuss's is now, I'd guess.
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