A listing of several factors that contributed to Simenon’s departure
SIMENON SIMENON. POURQUOI A-T-IL QUITTE L’AMERIQUE ?
Une liste de plusieurs facteurs qui ont contribué au départ de Simenon
SIMENON SIMENON, PERCHE' HA LASCIATO L'AMERICA?
Una serie di diversi fattori che hanno contribuito alla partenza di Simenon
Simenon made a quick decision to leave America and, according to Assouline, it came about this way: one night in February 1955, Simenon’s English editor asked, “What reason do you have, Georges, to stay in America?” Simenon offered “the climate, schooling, quality of life, etc.―but he himself did not seem very convinced by his response.” That night, he asked Denise, “What do you think about settling down in France?” They talked all night and decided on “the great departure” by dawn. But the whys behind the move were less definite. Indeed, Simenon offered different reasons at different times. Googling uncovered some reports and opinions from various Simenon ‘biographers’ as presented here in alphabetical order:
Joan Acocella favored an economic explanation in an article entitled Crime Pays: “After a ten-year exile, the family returned to Europe, settling near Lausanne, Switzerland, which for Simenon, as for others, was a tax haven.” Simenon’s 1955 request that Nielsen keep his U.S. departure secret and the subsequent 1965 U. S. Court unpaid taxes case support this notion of tax evasion.
Pierre Assouline wrote Simenon “always fell back on the same answer: homesickness,” but then the biographer added some other considerations: “He felt the need to leave and that alone sufficed.” Sales had not ‘reached the height of his ambitions.” He was “more and more poorly regarded” by the Lakeville “locals.”
Fenton Bresler quoted Simenon from some “gathered testimony” as follows: “Those years in Lakeville were not for me those of a happy time.”
Michel Carly found a basis for the “precipitous return to France” in a Simenon letter marked “Ultra Confidential” of March 1955: “My reasons to leave. The real truth? Well, between us, after ten years, I was suddenly homesick.” Carly also indicated some “malaise” was what “pushed” Simenon to “pack up,” citing ex-wife Tigy’s explicit words: “He lost his American bet” and “He did not win his American battle.”
Jim Charlton wrote in the TriCorner News covering Lakeville: “After five years in Lakeville, Simenon became somewhat disenchanted with the town, and homesick for Europe. And Lakeville had cooled to the celebrity author. Many in the town did not like it that Simenon had required that his ex-wife Tigy live nearby in a modest house. Also, there were the rumors of his sexual escapades. One of the more persistent of these was that when Marc, who was at The Hotchkiss School, turned 16, he escorted him to New York City and introduced him to a prostitute. But first Simenon reportedly sampled the wares.”
Stanley Eskin concluded “it was the awareness that things were changing and, whatever happens, it was necessary to recognize it―or prepare for it―with a radical change in location.”
Vicki Silvert anticipated in a 1954 piece in The Lakeville Journal: “He observed people like butterflies, as if he were an entomologist. By spying on people as he did he took something of their personality without giving anything in return. You sensed that he would leave when there was nothing more to take.”
David P Simmons
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