Dirty Snow (Paperback)
New York Review of Books, 9781590170434, 257pp.
Publication Date: September 1, 2003
Nineteen-year-old Frank Friedmaier lives in a country under occupation. Most people struggle to get 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 Snow opens, he has just killed his first man. Through the unrelenting darkness and cold of an endless winter, Frank will pursue abjection until at last there is nowhere to go.
Hans Koning has described Dirty Snow as "one of the very few novels to come out of German-occupied France that gets 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 control.
Praise For Dirty Snow…
“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
“What many regard as the finest of all noir novels…"--Tim Rutten, The Los Angeles Times
“Dirty Snow is an astonishing work....a bleak masterpiece, its darkness is as William T. Vollmann writes in a perceptive afterword, 'as solid and heavy as the interior of a dwarf star.'” --John Banville, The New Republic
“Dirty Snow is both exhilirating and taxing: exhilirating because it frees the reader to imagine unthinkable acts of violence and degradation and, if not to approve of them exactly, then at least to better understand their origin; and taxing because of the effort it takes to even visit Simenon’s nihilist world for a while. ... Dirty Snow has an eerie locomotion, an eerie appeal.” --Bill Eichenberger, Columbus Dispatch
“Simenon may not have thought much of humanity, but few writers have captured its squalid core the way he did.” --Time Out New York
“Extraordinary… Simenon demonstrates a rare mastery"--Anita Brookner
“A Master storyteller… Simenon gave to the puzzle story a humanity that it had never had before.”--Daily Telegraph
“The best mystery writer today is a Belgian who writes in French. His name is Georges Simenon.”--Dashiell Hammett
“A truly wonderful writer… marvellously readable, lucid, simple, absolutely in tune with that world he creates.”--Muriel Spark
“One of the very few novels to come out of German-occupied France that gets it exactly right.”--Hans Konning
“The great master of unease”--Marcel Clements, International Herald Tribune
“The gift of narration is the rarest of all gifts in the 20th century. Georges Simenon has that to the tips of his fingers.”--Thorton Wilder
“At his best, Simenon is an all-round master craftsman- ironic, disciplined, highly intelligent, with fine descriptive power. His themes are timeless in their preoccupation with the interrelation of evil, guilt and good; contemporary in their fidelity to the modern context and Gallic in precision, logic and a certain emanation of pain or disquiet. His fluency is of course astonishing. His life is itself a work by Simenon.” --Francis Steegmuller
“Georges Simenon is more than prolific. His psychological intensity and compression of style mark him as a leading writer of the Century.”-- The New York Times
"Georges Simenon is a recent discovery for me -- not the Maigret books, but what Simenon called his "romans durs", such as "Dirty Snow" and "Three Bedrooms in Manhattan" -- and hard they are indeed. The latest of these New York Review Books reissues, "Tropic Moon" (translated from the French by Marc Romano) is a dark masterpiece set among French colonials in heart-of-darkness Gabon in the early 1930s. Cruel, erotic, frightening and superb." -- John Banville, The Los Angeles Times