lunedì 20 febbraio 2017


On a few revealing glimpses of six of Simenon’s relationships. 

Au propos de quelques aperçus révélateurs sur six relations familiales de Simenon.
A proposito di qualche dettaglio rivelatore sulle sei relazioni familiari di Simenon.

The 104 pages in Pierre Assouline’s biography that cover Simenon’s “happy” Lakeville, Connecticut period provide surprisingly few insights into his relationships with his all-important family. Here are some highlights:
MARC (adolescent, 11 - 16 years) gets some attention. 
He was living nearby with Tigy and attending the even closer Hotchkiss School, so Simenon saw him frequently
Part of his “immutable ritual” was to “devote himself as much as possible to Marc by picking him up at school, playing baseball, and hunting for snakes. What Assouline classifiesas the “most tenacious” rumor about Simenon’s “escapades involved Marc as well and it seems quite credible: his birthday present for the teenager was a New York prostitute, “not without having tested her before him.” 

JOHN (toddler, 1-5 years) remains background. There isn’t much to read about “Johnny” except that he accompanied his father on his 1952 “grand European tour,” where “lost in the crowd,” he introduced himself as “Little Maigret.” Look at the huge role John now plays in things Simenon. (Son Pierre arrived in 1959.) 
MARIE-JO (infant0-3 years) only gets introduced. The birth of a much-wanted daughter, halfway throughout the Lakeville era, was “an exceptional event.” Up until then, it was clear that Marc, not Johnny, was the apple of his father’s eye, Suddenly, it was noteworthy, even prescient, and perhaps contradictory of his reported misogyny, that he dedicated Red Lights, written soon after her birth, to this daughter. 
HENRIETTE (septuagenarian) seems more included. Simenon maintained contact with her by “telephoning her and, even more often, writing her. Twice, she visited Lakeville as, according to Assouline, “special guest if ever there was one.” When Georges took her into New York City to make rounds of some popular spots was he showing off to her? On his 1952 European tour, his first stop in Liège was his mother’s place. He went alone, for he wanted to keep the rare moment to himself.” That “stopover was brief, but intense.” Later on, he confessed (ambiguously): “If I had stayed longer, I might have been able to have cried.” She attended a grand reception for him in Liège and his induction into the Royal Academy in Brussels. 
DENISE (early thirties) acts out. The 1952 trip changed her from being just his new formal spouse and mother of their child.” She became a “screen” protecting him from the business of publishing. In taking over progressively as his agent, she tried to dominate, which became too much for him. More and more often, “they had words,” especially “when the bottle was on the table.” Her “dependence” on alcohol became increasingly “prejudicial to the couple’s equilibrium.” The “complete happiness” he had had with her before was now confined to their sexual relations. 
TIGY (early fifties) gets little mentionHe did develop “enthusiasm” for a biography based on interviews of those who knew him, but he required “a single exception: Tigy.” He wrote that he wanted to avoid too big a share in them from my ex-wife” whose “memory is not pleasant to me.” Although a priority was “the elimination of all traces of his first wife,” he continued to have sex with her, more than with Boule. 
David P Simmons

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