In the world of novel writing Georges Simenon was the Mozart of the novel He uit school for ood as a teenager never participated in a writing workshop never enrolled in a writing program and never attended a writing class With his innate ear for language and dialogue eye for detail and feel for storytelling all he needed was four dozen freshly sharpened pencils lined up on his desk and a Do Not Disturb sign to hang on his door And presto a first rate novel written at fever pitch in two weeks Goodness what some writers wouldn t ive to have a fraction of his talent After ten years of writing dime store potboilers Simenon decided to et serious and started writing his Detective Maigret novels A few years after pumping out detective novels again Simenon decided to become even serious and thus began writing what he sometimes characterized as romans durs that is straight novels or hard novels meaning hard on the reader PD James termed these Simenon third phase books as dark novels Personally I like the sound of all three together straight hard and dark And let me tell you folks Dirty Snow is exactly that straight as in straight psychological study a mile away from detective fiction hard as in very hard on the reader and dark as in the deep recesses of the human psyche Simenon s novels are nearly always strict point of view narratives where readers see people and unfolding events only as the main character sees them With Dirty Snow the novel s main character is a burly eighteen year old by the name of Frank Friedmaier a despicable lout if there ever was one The novel isn t written in first person but it s a close cousin in each and every scene it s as if we are standing directly behind Frank azing over his brawny swinish shoulder Judging this novel set in an unnamed European city under World War II type foreign military occupation as hard on the reader would be understatement anyone opening the book s pages had better be prepared for a story that s tough to swallow actually on further reflection make that extremely tough to swallow At various points in the narrative Dirty Snow reminded me of Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange random youth violence Yevgeny Zamyatin s We eerie dystopia Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn s Gulag Archipelago state sponsored fear and Franz Kafka s The Trial nightmarish interrogations Likewise Albert Camus 1945 novel The Stranger written three year prior to Simenon s in the sense Dirty Snow is coated with existential alienation as snow in the novel is coated with dirt and also is structurally similar to The Stranger in that it is divided into two distinct parts Frank living on the outside and Frank shut up on the inside My strong sense is if Georges Simenon didn t write all those potboilers and Detective Maigret novels and only wrote a few of his romans durs then Dirty Snow would be studied and discussed alongside such classics of existentialism as The Stranger and Jean Paul Sartre s Nausea Now I can see why George Simenon thought himself worthy of the Nobel Prize and resented publishers and literati who labeled him a hack catering to the clamoring detective fiction loving rabbleIn the first chapter we learn Frank links sex with violence and feels inferior to other slightly older men who have committed murders thus Frank plans to murder his first man a fat officer in the army of occupation known as the Eunuch who is drinking in a bar murder him with a knife that very evening as something akin to a rite of passage We also
Come To Understand Frank Has to understand Frank has odd relationship with an older man his neighbor Gerhardt Holst a man we might infer is a father figure for Frank Frank waits in the snow of the back alley knife at the ready waiting for the Eunuch to walk out of the bar Just at that moment Holst walks down the alley Holst would never see him pressed up against the wall but Frank coughs to make sure Holst knows he is there Frank reflects Of course it wasn t because of Holst that he was oing to kill the Eunuch That was already decided It was just that at that moment his act had made no sense It had been almost a joke a childish prank What was it he had said Like losing his virginity Let us recall how in traditional societies the rite of passage from boyhood to manhood does not happen in isolation but is a community event witnessed by older men Perhaps Frank yearns for such a communal passageThe plot uickly thickens I highly recommended this penetrating existential novel published by New York Review Books since there is a most insightful ten page Afterward written William T Vollmann Afterward rather than Introduction is ideal in this case under the Afterward written by William Vollmann Afterward rather than Introduction is ideal in this case under the one has already read Dirty Snow Vollmann critiues the novel in detail without risking iving anything away At one point Vollmann observes Here is Simenon s enius Frank wants to be recognized He wants to be known He scarcely knows himself or anything else worth knowing But if he can somehow stand revealed to the aze of the Other then maybe he will achieve some sort of realization Don t you and I want to be real than we are And wouldn t it be convenient if somebody else could help us et there I hope your literary appetite has been whetted Again highly recommendedGeorges Simenon The first cup of coffee Awake at 600 he prepares it himself and drinks it installed at his machine He Ratscalibur gives himself until 900 to write a whole chapter He works only by electric light Corporate OccupationFrom time to time Georges Simenon has been either accused of collaboration or praised for his resistance during the German occupation of France in WWII Dirty Snow suggests that a substantial middleround which might be called exploitative participation exists and could just be closer to the truth This region is inhabited by many particularly those of the permanent underclass who perceive occupation as another not terribly significant fact of life to be dealt with by the usual means crime Or precisely purposeless criminality For the protagonist Frank military occupation simply means increase Dirty Snow a withering parade of apathy it languishes and eventually disintegrates in a desolate The Million Dollar Goal (The Million Dollar Series, gray landscape of inscrutable uncertainty A perfect summer beach read Eighteen year old Frank the fiercely vacant antihero is a callous arrogant thug He commits increasingly depraved acts determined to prove that he s an emotionless killer who doesn tive a shit about anything This desire of course reveals that he isn t uite as indifferent as he likes to think he is It takes him a while to figure this out By the time he does it s too late Or wasn t it alwaysAll in all a seductively bleak tightly written descent into existential mala. Nineteen year old Frank Friedmaier lives in a country under occupation Most people struggle to et by; Frank takes it easy in his mother's whorehouse which caters to members of the occupying forces But Frank is restless He is a pimp a thug a petty thief and as Dirty Sn.
Georges Simenon ´ 3 free readRe to answer a few uestions about itYes I would like that I think it might be useful to me than you can imagine Well first we have seen that you initially ave it 4 stars then changed it to 2 Why was that I think my initial rating was a result of not wanting to appear dim witted But after a considerable amount of thought I realized that I couldn t A Shark Never Sleeps: Wheeling and Dealing with the NFL's Most Ruthless Agent give it 4 stars based on the way I rate books And what is that My ratings basically are indications of the experience I had reading a book and what I thought I was able to take away from that experience They do not attempt to pass any kind of judgment on the worth uality whatever of the book at least not usually Based on this I realized that the proper rating for the book was no than 2 So you didn t enjoy reading this bookCertainly not That s not to say that I found it totally uninteresting Why didn t you enjoy itWell what s to enjoy I suppose if one were a huge fan of noir one could find the experience of reading this book very satisfying But myuess is that this example of noir might be very extreme Wouldn t it be the case that in most noir novels there is at least one main character that we can relate to on some level I didn t find that here We ll ask the uestions if you please So you couldn t relate to Frank in any wayLook I m a person who likes to think that he has uite a capability of empathizing with people But that is only possible when you can discern something about the person s life attitudes beliefs desires that you either have direct experience with yourself or can you think imagine what having such experience would be like For me I can t find anything like that in Frank Frankly ho ho if I knew a person like Frank I would stay far away from him and if I couldn t do that I would probably try to figure out some way of eliminating him from my environment like you eliminate poison ivy from your backyard You did admit that you found something interesting in the book didn t youYes The story line itself was certainly interesting enough to keep me reading at least in the sense that I did continue to wonder what the outcome of this repellant chain of events would be I also thought the tale went up a notch in the third part of the book which recalled to me impressions I still had from reading Kafka s Trial long ago It s sometimes said that this novel is a magnificent tale about what it is like for a city to be occupied by a foreign army Any thoughts on thatThere is something to that much rings very true in that regard But many different stories could have been told that would not only include all those keen observations about foreign occupation but would at the same time not be so unremittingly unpleasant to read So you really have very little in the way of positive commentsSPOILER ALERT this paragraph onlyview spoilerAs I said I don t take myself to be a literary critic so I m not judging the book one way or another as literature Though having made that admission I do need to add that I found the ending of the book the SissyHolst episode totally unbelievable To imagine a young woman having the feelings that Sissy has in the story is impossible unless one assumes that she is as dead to life as Frank himself is in which case they deserve each other Of course Holst himself is eually unbelievable in this context It strikes me as a deus ex machina which enables Simenon to end the tale as he wants to hide spoiler In his afterword to this novel William T Vollmann opines As technology and corporatism impel us and to treat one another like things loyalty and decency approach
irrelevance except between intimates and sometimes even then Dirty Snow is certainly a book that compels a readerexcept between intimates and sometimes even then Dirty Snow is certainly a book that compels a reader feel much the same as WTV does about what happens to the human soul in the trash compactor crush of Money and Civilization but there are many books that tell this story So why read this oneSimenon s particular My Jihad: The True Story of An American Mujahid's Amazing Journey from Usama Bin Laden's Training Camps to Counterterrorism with the FBI and CIA genius isiving us a protagonist loathsome yet relatable and portrayed with a subtlety that belies HIS HORRIFIC ACTIONS FRANK IS LIKE horrific actions Frank is like rest of us his need to count to be known recognized isn t anything new Simenon puts us in the mind of a creature that by the end of the story we find real discomfort in just how human a monster can be The snow falls where it wants when it wants whether mankind wishes it or no In the end all we can do is make it filthy Second
Frank Friedmaier is hell on destruction Son and chief procurer of the local brothelkeeper his mother Frank is nineteen years old and a sociopath of the first order This is collaborationist Vichy France The men Frank admires the most are black marketeers thieves and murderers men who brag about snuffing women during sex Frank starts his descent by killing a fat policeman of the occupying army who shows his avid courtesies to the local whores But murdering the Eunuch is just practice a preliminary and Frank s way of arming himself with a fine automatic Next he murders perhaps what we can call his true mother his old wet nurse who lives outside of town with her watchmaker brother Frank s The Book of Leviathan gripe though he could hardly say so is his lack of a father Frank wants to be a man His crimes are failed attempts to initiate himself into manhood Frank desperately needsuidance That s why he becomes obsessed with the closest person who might help him his next door neighbor Gerhard Holst Frank is fascinated by Holst When he finally condescends to approach Holst s daughter Sissy Frank sadly is her first love it is only to uestion her at length about her father What did he do before the war and so on Later when Sissy touches Frank s heart you know she is doomed You wait anxiously for her despoliation which when it comes is horrendous the act of a monster This tale of brute thuggery and homocide in the wartime demimonde is a kind of a counter uest narrative The anti hero Frank must challenge himself to prove he is a man What he does to everyone around him but ultimately to himself he thinks of as his initiation His fatherlessness his isolation among women appalls him The denouement when the occupying authorities finally catch up with him is surprising in its brevity and power I found myself exclaiming aloud something I never do This is a wonderful novel It s language is very flat compressed and sinuous I m lad I reread it Second only to The Strangers in the House it is my favorite Simenon Effusively recommended PS Kudos to NYRB Classics for winnowing this one from Simenon s huge corpusFirst reading This is wonderful It s the first Simenon I ever read and I found it vivid engaging and moving Dirty Snow is my second favorite Simenon outranked only by The Strangers In The House. Ance that ets it exactly right In a study of the criminal mind that is comparable to Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me Simenon maps a no man's land of the spirit in which human nature is driven to destruction and redemption perhaps as well by forces beyond its contr. Ise emptiness and despair Frank had done what he wanted to do He had rounded the cape He had looked at the other side He hadn t seen what he expected to see Who cared Simenon s ecstatically bleak Dirty Snow teeters on the fulcrum between four and five starness and only just barely comes to rest on the four star side A lot of hand wringing and soul searching went into this rating or at least two minutes worth but in the end I concluded that the only uality Dirty Snow lacks is that ineffable something or other that makes a novel Las Maravillosas Obras de Dios: Historias B�blicas Para La Familia grab you by the balls and shout I m a five star book damn it Hearken to myreatness The first thing I want to say about Dirty Snow is actually something about two other books namely Sartre s Nausea and Camus The Stranger both of which you can safely chuck on the book burning pyre because Dirty Snow is the definitive fictional rendering of existentialism Unlike its celebrated forebears Simenon s work is actually alive not just some nakedly abstract concept onto which character and plot are clumsily affixed The protagonist Frank is a nineteen year old asshole in a presumably German occupied country during World War II The location is appropriately indistinct Like everything else it s pointless Frank has no real friends and doesn t شرح جامع مثنوى معنوى give a shit about anybody not his fretful mother Lotte who runs a brothel out of their apartment not Sissy theirl next door who s infatuated with him and not Kromer his partner in crime Not even himself Entirely lacking in purpose Frank thieves and murders without moral compunction but his crimes are less profit motivated or purely sadistic than they are strange floundering assertions of self in an arbitrary and morally convoluted world The last fifty to seventy five pages of the book are a total downer to the extent that the whole fucked up punitive system of the occupation forces is basically a stand in for life in The New Song: For the Sunday School, Societies of Christian Endeavor, and Other Religious Exercises (Classic Reprint) general We try to make sense of it all or to feel important or relevant in some small stupid way but heyuess what Spoiler We re all a big ol steamin pile of nothin Good night You ve been a lovely audience The writer Georges Simenon was a Belgian I thought he was French author who was incredibly prolific in creating noir crime novels and other books that delved into the darkness of the human psyche He is considered by some as the father of the noir Riding Hard genre I nominated this book for a small readingroup because of having read two outstanding novels by Graeme Macrae Burnet who said his writing was influenced by having read tons of Simenon books Arabian Challenge growing up While justetting started with Dirty Snow I noticed that the character names were Germanic sounding than French The book is set during WWII while German forces o Ladies and entlemen watch carefully Here s Frank a young punk who lives in his mother s brothel in occupied France He lies drinks steals does black market business with the German officers commits murder just for fun Yes feel free to touch him he fucks his mother s irls every night while treating them like shit and is also trying to seduce the 16 year old virgin who lives across the hallAre you still watching you may check that there is nothing up my sleeve and now using only sparse descriptive prose I will transform him into a universal symbol of human suffering and redemption that will remind you of L Etranger King Lear and Crime and Punishment but still has a character all its ownSir I understand your scepticism You don t think it s possible but "ABRACADABRA The Audience Stare In " The audience stare in A lone voice from the back asks plaintively Bloody hellReading Frank Friedmaier Is Hell
How Did Simenon Do Thatdid Simenon do that was my first Simenon
book though certainly it won t be the last Dirty Snow is a stark noir novel set duringthough certainly it won t be the last Dirty Snow is a stark noir novel set during German occupation of France in WW II though the exact location and time period is never mentioned The anti hero Frank is a budding hoodlum who lives in his mother s brothel He spends his evenings in sleazy bars and associates with other small time hoods though he doesn t really have any close friends He also samples his mother s whores when he takes a notion though he doesn t seem to Der Verlorene Koffer: A Graded Reader for Beginning Students get much pleasure from sex or anything else During the course of this novel Frank commits three heinous acts two of them for no apparent reason and another for financialain What sets Frank apart from the average noir reprobate is that he seems to have almost no reasons or psychological motivations for most of his crimes He doesn t seem to care about anything Reading this book I thought a lot about the Bruce Springsteen song Nebraska which is based on the real life murder spree of a Lincoln Nebraska youth named Charlie Starkweather and his ILLERAMMA Kathalu girlfriend Caril Ann Fugate In an eight day stretch they killed 11 people The final lines of the song are a response to the uestion of why he decided too on the killing spree and the answer is the chilling line I American Literature Student Text guess there s just a meanness in this world Springsteen took a little license with his tune but one can imagine these lines being said by Frank if he bothered toive any reason at all for his actions His fatherless upbringing and prostitutemadam mother don t seem to have left any scars on his psyche The occupation of his land by an invading foreign army hasn t either Simenon does a reat job of making the reader realize that people like Frank actually exist in this worldThere is also a sense that Frank is aware that his misdeeds will end in his undoing though this is implied only through the term destiny He lives with no anxiety about what will happen to him and indeed almost seems to hasten his destiny by flaunting damning evidence of his crimes It is as if he was aware his destiny was ineluctable and would have had the same outcome regardless of any attempt to alter his fateThere s lots dynamics to the story which I ve left out to avoid any spoilers but suffice to say that if you re a reader who reuires reasons for senseless inexplicable violence and infliction of horrifying cruelty this may not be the book for you William Vollman writes the afterward for this book Vollman is a writer who s put himself in many horrifying situations and written a seven volume Rising Up and Rising Down study of human violence and atrocities Vollman tries to offer some reasons for Frank s actions but I found them unconvincing and thought he was trying too hard to make sense of Frank s behavior I think Simenon s point to the extent he had one in this novel was that there are some humans whose motivations cannot be sussedhttpswwwyoutubecomwatchviirx Nebraska song 1 14 perhaps M sieur could I have a word pleaseYes what is it We notice that you recently finished reading Dirty Snow Would you ca. Ow opens he has just killed his first man Through the unrelenting darkness and cold of an endless winter Frank will pursue abjection until finally there is nowhere to oHans Koning has described Dirty Snow as one of the very few novels to come out of German occupied Fr.