Thursday, December 29, 2011

Maigret's War of Nerves by Georges Simenon (Penguin Books 1931)

“He worked like a slave. His professors regarded him as their most promising pupil. He had no friends. He never spoke much, even to his fellow students.“
He was poor, but he was used to poverty. Often he went to his classes with no socks. More than once he worked in the market, unloading vegetables to earn a few centimes…“
Then came the catastrophe. His mother died. There was no more money.“
And suddenly, without any transition, he turned his back on his dream. He might have looked for work, as so many students do. But no, he didn’t lift a finger…“
Did he have a suspicion that he wasn’t quite the genius he’d imagined? Had he begun to lose confidence in himself? In any case, he did nothing. Nothing whatever. He merely loafed about in cafés, writing begging letters to distant relatives and appealing to charitable organizations. He sponged cynically on any Czechs he happened to meet in Paris, even flaunting his lack of gratitude.“
The world hadn’t understood him. So he hated the world. And he spent his time nursing his hatred. In the Montparnasse cafés he would sit among people who were rich, happy, and bursting with good health. He would sip his café crème while cocktails were being poured out by the gallon.“
Was he already toying with the idea of a crime? Perhaps… I really don’t know. But I know that twenty or thirty years ago he’d have been a militant anarchist tossing bombs at royalty. But that’s no longer fashionable these days…

1 comment:

Darren said...

Simenon and his anarchists. What's he like? It was 1931, after all.