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The Man Who Watched the Trains Go By (Pocket Penguin Classics) Paperback – 29 Jun 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (29 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141025875
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141025872
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.6 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 437,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Fierce, bleak and compellingly written . . . with pitiless landscapes of hopeless longing, random cruelty and galloping fate warmed only by the twilit lyricism of doomed desire. These are novels of eye-opening, spine-tingling control and intensity. (Boyd Tonkin The Independent)

One of the greatest writers of the twentieth century . . . Simenon was unequaled at making us look inside, though the ability was masked by his brilliance at absorbing us obsessively in his stories (Guardian)

Compelling . . . Simenon shows how close the deranged mind is to the ordinary mind' (Financial Times) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Georges Simenon was born at Liège in Belgium 1903. He published over 160 books and his work has been admired by almost all the leading French and English critics. His books have been translated into more than 20 languages and more than 40 have been filmed.


Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A book by Simenon but not a Maigret tale. Instead the compelling story of a middle class Dutch businessman for whom a chance meeting with his employer is a life-changing incident. That meeting has devastating consequences for Kees Popinga's wife and young children and thereafter his life bears no resemblance to its former self. A life of predictable, comfortable, and uneventful respectability is overturned in that instant. He seeks out the other side of life but not just as a voyeur and as a result he has to leave Holland. He goes to Paris and in the space of a couple of weeks all the certainties of the past are unravelled.

I really felt for this man as he wandered around the streets of Paris, still wearing his made to measure suit. His notoriety hits the front pages of the newspapers and as he reads about himself it enflames his righteous anger, inspiring his moral indignation to defend the rectitude of his behaviour. There is no happy ending.
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By Lonya TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Oct. 2006
Format: Paperback
but above all the desire to despair and to negate. Camus.

Despair and negation predominate in Georges Simenon's "The Man Who Watched Trains Go By", a book that I considered to be darker than noir.

Simenon was nothing if not prolific in both his literary and public life. Born in Belgium in 1903, Simenon turned out hundreds of novels. Simenon's obsession with writing caused him to break off an affair with the celebrated Josephine Baker in Paris when he could only write twelve novels in the twelve month period in which they were involved. Although perhaps best known for his Inspector Maigret detective novels, Simenon also wrote over a hundred novels that he referred to as `romans durs' (literally "hard novels"). As with many of his contemporaries such as Chandler and Hammett, Simenon's books were marketed and sold as popular, pulp fiction. Also like Chandler and Hammett, Simenon's books have stood up well over time.

The story's protagonist and narrator is Kees Poppinga. As the book opens Kees is seen and sees himself as a stolidly middle-class Dutch citizen living a life of relative comfort in the coastal town of Groningen. He is secure in his job as the manager of a ship's supply company. His sense of security is reflected in an attitude best described as smug and more than a bit conceited. On the surface, Kees' life seems well insulated from the harsher side of life. But Simenon shows us quickly that this appearance of security was really a thin veneer that could be washed away at a moment's notice. One night, Kees discovers that his company's owner has driven the company into bankruptcy. Kees will soon be out of the job and will likely lose everything he holds dear.
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Format: Paperback
Not a Maigret title and reads more like literature than a detective novel, this is the engrossing story of a man who loses his comfortable middle class life overnight and decides to take things into his own hands, travelling to Paris, committing crimes, eluding the police and challenging the press. You get drawn into his psyche and are fascinated. Highly recommended.
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By Lonya TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Oct. 2006
Format: Paperback
but above all the desire to despair and to negate. Camus.

Despair and negation predominate in Georges Simenon's "The Man Who Watched Trains Go By", a book that I considered to be darker than noir.

Simenon was nothing if not prolific in both his literary and public life. Born in Belgium in 1903, Simenon turned out hundreds of novels. Simenon's obsession with writing caused him to break off an affair (he was prolific in this area of his life as well) with the celebrated Josephine Baker in Paris when he could only write twelve novels in the twelve month period in which they were involved. Although perhaps best known for his Inspector Maigret detective novels, Simenon also wrote over a hundred novels that he referred to as `romans durs' (literally "hard novels"). As with many of his contemporaries such as Chandler and Hammett, Simenon's books were marketed and sold as popular, pulp fiction. Also like Chandler and Hammett, Simenon's books have stood up well over time. The New York Review of Books publishing division has reissued much of Simenon's books. They are well worth reading and "The Man Who Watch Trains Go By" is an excellent place to start.

The story's protagonist and narrator is Kees Poppinga. As the book opens Kees is seen and sees himself as a stolidly middle-class Dutch citizen living a life of relative comfort in the coastal town of Groningen. He is secure in his job as the manager of a ship's supply company. His sense of security is reflected in an attitude best described as smug and more than a bit conceited. On the surface, Kees' life seems well insulated from the harsher side of life. But Simenon shows us quickly that this appearance of security was really a thin veneer that could be washed away at a moment's notice.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Unlike "Solar" by Ian McEwan, which does not take off until after page 100, this book engrosses you within the first 5 pages. Superb stuff, and helpful too if you're aspiring to write novels as I am. The point of view the author uses is very convincing. I was really sorry to finish the book.
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