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President, The (Neversink) [Paperback]

Geroges Simenon

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Book Description

8 Dec 2011 Neversink
Restored to print for the first time in more than forty years, The President was hailed by the New York Times as a “tour de force”

At 82, the former premier lives in alert and suspicious retirement—self exile—on the Normandy coast, writing his anxiously anticipated memoirs and receiving visits from statesman and biographers. In his library is the self-condemning, handwritten confession of the premier’s former attaché, Chalamont, hidden between the pages of a sumptuously produced work of privately printed pornography—a confession that the premier himself had dictated and forced Chalamont to sign. Now the long-thwarted Chalamont has been summoned to form a new coalition in the wake of the government’s collapse. The premier alone possesses the secret of Chalamont’s guilt, of his true character—and has publicly vowed: “He’ll never be Premier as long as I’m alive... Nor when I’m dead, either.” Inspired by French Premier Georges Clemenceau, The President is a masterpiece of psychological suspense and a probing account of the decline of power.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: MELVILLE HOUSE PUBLISHING; Reprint edition (8 Dec 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193555462X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935554622
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 0.9 x 20.3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 766,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The lion in winter 13 Dec 2011
By Leonard Fleisig - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written 25 Aug 2013
By Skip55 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A real insight into how outside controlling factors take over a person's life, no matter the person's status or stage in life.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow pace, but satisfying 21 May 2013
By RWoodB - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars Another interesting character. 29 Dec 2013
By G. Goldstein - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars Threatening to burst... 16 Mar 2013
By @souvikstweets - Published on Amazon.com
Format: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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