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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The lion in winter
In his heyday the former Premier of France bestrode France and Europe like a colossus. A larger than-life figure he was at once feared, respected, admired, and often hated. It seemed that whenever the French Republic had a crisis, be it monetary, labor, social strife, or war the President of France would call on him to save the republic one more time. Now, at age 82 he...
Published on December 13, 2011 by Leonard Fleisig

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3.0 out of 5 stars The Premier
Simenon was a writing machine.What is amazing about him was the quality of what he produced.This is a good novel,although not his best .It's a tight story about a formerly very powerful French politician who gradually realizes that not only is he no longer powerful , he is close to being a bird in a gilded cage. He accepts with good grace the reality of his...
Published 19 months ago by JAK


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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The lion in winter, December 13, 2011
By 
Leonard Fleisig "Len" (Virginia Beach, Virginia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The President (Neversink) (Paperback)
In his heyday the former Premier of France bestrode France and Europe like a colossus. A larger than-life figure he was at once feared, respected, admired, and often hated. It seemed that whenever the French Republic had a crisis, be it monetary, labor, social strife, or war the President of France would call on him to save the republic one more time. Now, at age 82 he is sick and living in relative seclusion in a house off the Normandy coast. He is watched over by a personal secretary, a cook, physician and chauffer. His days are spent in isolation and he spends much of his waking hours quietly contemplating his life. His stillness is that of the aging lion. He sits in his study and barely moves, as if conserving what little energy and time he has left. As the story opens France is facing yet another crisis. The government has fallen and the President is seeking desperately to find a Premier to step in to save France one more time. As the country's eyes turn to the most likely prospect, Chalmont, the retired Premier asks himself whether he should go public with the damaging information that he has about the man who was once his most trusted assistant.

Loosely based on the latter years of Georges Clemenceau ("Le Tigre") George Simenon's "The President" is one more reason why I will pick up and read a book by Simenon anywhere I can find it. Perhaps best known for his Inspector Maigret stories such as The Hotel Majestic (Penguin Mysteries), I think his finest work can be found in what he called his "romans durs" or hard stories such as The Man Who Watched Trains Go By (New York Review Books Classics). These were not police procedurals but, rather, stories that looked at the dark side of our nature. The Simenons I have read have all been fine examples of the art of writing and "The President" is no exception. Simenon takes the reader into the mind of this aging leader as he contemplates the world around him, from the political crisis to the randy behavior of his young kitchen girl, you get lost in his own thoughts and musings. The premiere's decision as to whether to pull the rug from under Chalmont's pending ascension to power is handled with skill.

If you already know and admire Simenon this book should be added to you collection. If you have not read Simenon yet this is as good a place to start as any. Highly recommended. L. Fleisig
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written, August 25, 2013
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A real insight into how outside controlling factors take over a person's life, no matter the person's status or stage in life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow pace, but satisfying, May 21, 2013
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This review is from: The President (Neversink) (Paperback)
Readers who want action in a novel should not purchase this book. The pace is slow because Simenon's approach is a slow reveal of the character of an 82-year old retired politician. Simenon's psychological novels--of which is one--are exceptionally well crafted.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another interesting character., December 29, 2013
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I've enjoyed all of Simenon's non-Maigret novels. He has a way of capturing the personality of his characters and releasing it throughout the novel. He always keeps me interested.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Threatening to burst..., March 16, 2013
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This review is from: The President (Neversink) (Paperback)
As with this other book "The train", this story weaves its tapestry around thoughts, musings, fears, & other emotions blended around the goings-on of a regular life of an old man, once important & powerful, but, in the current setting, reduced by disease & aloofness of a brilliant, & perhaps a trifle uncompromising, political career. It is the sort of story that takes you along, meandering on verge of some significant event but it is when you look at it from a distance, & not while you're in it, that the parts fit together & a complete picture, rather a telling one, emerges.

Good, entertaining story & remarkable characterizations.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Premier, February 18, 2013
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This review is from: The President (Neversink) (Paperback)
Simenon was a writing machine.What is amazing about him was the quality of what he produced.This is a good novel,although not his best .It's a tight story about a formerly very powerful French politician who gradually realizes that not only is he no longer powerful , he is close to being a bird in a gilded cage. He accepts with good grace the reality of his situation.After all he recognizes he would have done exactly the same thing with someone like himself.One of the novels strengths is its realistic , unsentimental take on politics.It's about the big time.This is not the Sunnydale town council.Yet, the big timers show they can be every bit as venal as the small fry.Still, there are hints of vision which set people like the Premier apart from lesser mortals.He is someone who got things done and that is that.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, September 1, 2014
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I was very good descrtion of the life of an importan politician.

I like it.
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The President (Neversink)
The President (Neversink) by Georges Simenon (Paperback - November 8, 2011)
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