Monday, September 20, 2010

Book Review: The Engagement, by Georges Simenon

The Engagement (New York Review Books Classics)The Engagement by Georges Simenon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one Simenon’s more compelling psychological novels (1933). In it we follow Mr. Hire, a solitary man with a dubious past, who is framed for a murder he did not commit. Mr. Hire’s bleak existence is seen only through the author’s juxtaposition of character, which slowly emerges, against the settings in which he navigates his daily routine (his commute, his business, and his various other habits). He is illusive and remains isolated as this trap conspires around him, and a constantly heightened tension creates an oppressive environment. Part psychology, part thriller, and definitely part eerie. This one is a must read for Simenon neophytes or any one into books with plenty of atmosphere, character, intensity, humor, and an understanding of the afflictive mob.

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