Monsieur Monde Vanishes
Publication Date: July 31, 2004
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Monsieur Monde is a successful middle-aged businessman in Paris. One morning he walks out on his life, leaving his wife asleep in bed, leaving everything.
Not long after, he surfaces on the Riviera, keeping company with drunks, whores and pimps, with thieves and their marks. A whole new world, where he feels surprisingly at home—at least for a while.
Georges Simenon knew how obsession, buried for years, can come to life, and about the wreckage it leaves behind. He had a remarkable understanding of how bizarrely unaccountable people can be. And he had an almost uncanny ability to capture the look and feel of a given place and time. Monsieur Monde Vanishes is a subtle and profoundly disturbing triumph by the most popular of the twentieth century’s great writers.
Georges Simenon (1903–1989) was born in Liège, Belgium. He went to work as a reporter at the age of fifteen and in 1923 moved to Paris, where under various pseudonyms he became a highly successful and prolific author of pulp fiction while leading a dazzling social life. In the early 1930s, Simenon emerged as a writer under his own name, gaining renown for his detective stories featuring Inspector Maigret. He also began to write his psychological novels, or romans durs—books in which he displays a sympathetic awareness of the emotional and spiritual pain underlying the routines of daily life. Having written nearly two hundred books under his own name and become the best-selling author in the world, Simenon retired as a novelist in 1973, devoting himself instead to dictating several volumes of memoirs.
Larry McMurtry lives in Archer City, Texas. His novels include The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment, Lonesome Dove (winner of the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction), Folly and Glory and Rhino Ranch. His nonfiction works include a biography of Crazy Horse, Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen, Paradise, Sacagawea’s Nickname: Essays on the American West and, most recently, Custer.
“Attention should be paid to the New York Review of Books' continuing reissues of Georges Simenon. Simenon was legendary both for his literary skill–four or five books every year for 40 years–and his sexual capacity, at least to hear him tell it. What we can speak of with some certainty are the novels, which are tough, rigorously unsentimental and full of rage, duplicity and, occasionally, justice. Simenon's tone and dispassionate examination of humanity was echoed by Patricia Highsmith, who dispensed with the justice. So far, the Review has published Tropic Moon, The Man Who Watched Trains Go By, Red Lights, Dirty Snow and Three Bedrooms in Manhattan; The Strangers in the House comes out in November. Try one, and you'll want to read more.” –The Palm Beach Post
"A truly wonderful writer…marvellously readable, lucid, simple, absolutely in tune with that world he creates."
— Muriel Spark