Monday, January 14, 2013

The Train by Georges Simenon (Melville House 1958)

I sometimes say "we" when talking of the people in our train because, on certain points, I know that our reactions were the same. But on this point I speak for myself, although I am convinced that I wasn't the only one in my position.

A break had occurred. That didn't mean that the past had ceased to exist, still less that I repudiated my family and had stopped loving them.

It was just that, for an indeterminate period, I was living on another level, where the values had nothing in common with those of my previous existence.

I might say that I was living on two levels at once, but that for the moment the one which counted was the new one, represented by our car with its smell of the stables, by faces I hadn't known a few days before, by the baskets of sandwiches carried by the young ladies with the arm bands, and by Anna.

I am convinced that she understood me. She no longer tried to cheer me up by telling me, for instance, that my wife and daughter were in no danger and that I would soon find them again.

Something she had said that morning came back to me.

"You're a cool one."

She took me for a strong-minded character, and I suspect that that is why she attached herself to me. At that time I knew nothing of her life, apart from the reference she had made to the Namur prison, and I know little more now. It is obvious that she had no ties, nothing solid to lean on.