lunedì 5 febbraio 2018

SIMENON SIMENON. BURNET AND SIMENON: BIRDS OF A FEATHER? / 2

Is Georges Gorski a Jules Maigret? 

SIMENON SIMENON. BURNET ET SIMENON : DES OISEAUX DU MEME PLUMAGE ? /2 
Est-ce que Georges Gorski est un Jules Maigret ? 
SIMENON SIMENON. BURNET E SIMENON; DUE PIUMATI CON LE STESSE PENNE? / 2
Georges Gorski é un Jules Maigret?


Inspector Georges Gorski, the French detective in The Disappearance of Adèle by Bedeau by Graham Macrae Burnet, “a longtime fan” of Simenon, begs comparison with Chief Inspector Jules Maigret. 
One major distinction stands out early: Gorski’s “credo was to eliminate intuition.” He believes “detective work had nothing to do with intuition or inspiration.” What he likes is “concrete evidence.” He “loathed hunches” and has “scorn for speculation.” Whenever “he tried to think himself into the mind of the killer”—the habitual approach of Maigret—“nothing ever came.” There are some other, lesser non-Maigret features after this: Gorski is only of “average height.” Not fat, he is merely “stocky.” He doesn’t cover Paris; he’s just a “provincial inspector. 
Of particular importance to a Gorski-Maigret comparison is the need to consider the married couples since a complete Maigret portrait must include Madame Maigret. In fact, multiple differences underscore how disparate Gorski and Maigret are. Mrs. Gorski is clearly no Madame Maigret. Taller than her husband, Céline is actually “slender.” She is “not much of a cook.” She not only works outside of the homebut it’s also her own business, an up market fashion boutique. No housewives in aprons there! And her husband disappoints her, for he is “only a cop,” a definite “impediment in her stated opinion. She insists Georges keep his wardrobe “up to date to avoid “going around looking like a vagrant.” But it is the Gorskis sex life, in particular, that sets them apart from the Maigrets. Céline comes on to Georges the very first day they meet, and it’s definitely not with the petits fours of Louise Léonard. As they advance into weekly lovemaking, their sex continues explicitly (orgasm, ejaculation, and emissionand, as one might imagine, they are not childless. Importantly, Georges is closer to his teenage daughter than his wife. Ultimately, they both realize they “had nothing in common” and “resent” each other. The author even hints Céline will leave Georges. This relationship is NOT that of the Maigrets. 
Some similarities in the men do exist: Gorski consumes excessive amounts of alcohol both on and off the jobLe Pot is for him what the Brasserie Dauphine is for Maigret although one does see Gorski “resisting the temptation to stop off at a bar” on the way home from work. Plus Gorski often feels like a “bumpkin,” a feeling to which country born and raised Maigret would really relate. 
If he is not Jules Maigret, Georges Gorski does evoke Georges Simenon in two ways: “He devoured Simenon, learning, he thought, the subtle arts of detection from the inscrutable Maigret.” And this Georges’ first sexual experience is strongly reminiscent of that of the other Georges. For the former, it was “quite painful” and, for the latter, “she hurt me very badly.” 
In sum, if this Burnet novel titillates with its homage to Georges Simenon,” it is because of its roman dur and Maigret flavors. Yes, the denouement is Simenonian and the book does end with a direct Simenon quote, but the way I see it is that, while Burnet may be admiring and influenced, he is not imitating “his literary hero.” 

David P Simmons 

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