- Series: Inspector Maigret (Book 1)
- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; First Thus edition (January 28, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141392738
- ISBN-13: 978-0141392738
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 79 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Pietr the Latvian (Inspector Maigret) Paperback – January 28, 2014
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Praise for Georges Simenon
“One of the greatest writers of the twentieth century . . . Simenon was unequalled at making us look inside, though the ability was masked by his brilliance at absorbing us obsessively in his stories.” —The Guardian
“These Maigret books are as timeless as Paris itself.” —The Washington Post
“Maigret ranks with Holmes and Poirot in the pantheon of fictional detective immortals.” —People
“I love reading Simenon. He makes me think of Chekhov.” —William Faulkner
“The greatest of all, the most genuine novelist we have had in literature.” —André Gide
“A supreme writer . . . Unforgettable vividness.” —The Independent (London)
“Superb . . . The most addictive of writers . . . A unique teller of tales.” —The Observer (London)
“Compelling, remorseless, brilliant.” —John Gray
“A truly wonderful writer . . . Marvelously readable—lucid, simple, absolutely in tune with the world he creates.” —Muriel Spark
“A novelist who entered his fictional world as if he were a part of it.” —Peter Ackroyd
“Extraordinary masterpieces of the twentieth century.” —John Banville
About the Author
Georges Simenon (1903–1989) was born on February 12th, 1903 in Liege, Belgium. At the age of nineteen, Simenon embarked to Paris to begin a career as a writer. In 1923 he began publishing under various pseudonyms, and in 1929 began the Inspector Maigret series which helped elevate him to a household name in continental Europe. His prolific output of more than four hundred novels and the gripping, dark realism of his prose has cemented him as an inedlible fixture of twentieth century literature. He died in 1989 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
David Bellos is the director of the Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication at Princeton University, where he is also a professor of French and comparative literature. He has won many awards for his translations of Georges Perec, Ismail Kadare, and others, including the Man Booker International Translator’s Award.
Top customer reviews
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It lacks the fast action of a modern novel though. You cannot help but see how difficult police investigation was without cell phones (to start with something)!
From the very beginning, I felt as though I'd been dropped on my head in the midst of the story. Although the feeling of disorientation gradually wore off, it did return from time to time. From the first, there is something grand about Maigret, and it's not just that he's "a mountain of a man." There are some wonderful descriptive passages throughout the book, but there are also places where Simenon drops the plot and wanders a bit-- and I never did quite understand why Pietr the Latvian was such a major criminal.
This new translation reads exceptionally well-- no dated feel to it at all-- but the original was written almost ninety years ago. Simenon was a writer of his time, so if his occasional unflattering references to Jews and Eastern European men are offensive, consider it as a period piece. Even though I could see Simenon experimenting throughout this book, I could also see many instances of brilliant writing and strong storytelling-- proof of what this series would become. I'm not going to be in a huge hurry to continue with Maigret, but this is certainly a series to which I will return.
The translation is terrible, unless Simenon is actually a bad writer, which we have on good authority he was not. The translator has opted for cliche after cliche -- is this because the French idioms didn't permit a better choice? Is it because the books are actually cliche-laden? Well this still does not explain the occasional typo or missing word, or putting Maigret in "The Flying Squad" or the repetition and redundancy.
I still want to read Simenon, but I don't know if I have to get a used book, a translation from 50 years ago, perhaps, to get something true to form. I want to enjoy the police procedural/detective novel, and I want to learn from it. That is, I want to spend time with both Maigret and Simenon. But on this first one it's as if neither is there.
Great writers speak of Simenon like other great writers speak of Elmore Leonard. I want to believe it. I do.
But this version stinks.