giovedì 27 febbraio 2020
SIMENON SIMENON. THE NOVELIST DISCOVERS A TREASURE ISLAND
About Simenon’s stays in Porquerolles
SIMENON SIMENON. IL ROMANZIERE SCOPRE UN'ISOLA DEL TESORO
Sui soggiorni di Simenon a Porquerolles
SIMENON SIMENON. LE ROMANCIER DECOUVRE UNE ILE AU TRESOR
In the beginning of the 30s, Simenon was in a happy phase in his life. The period of apprenticeship, represented by the popular literature, was over. He could go on with what he called “semi-literature” or “semi-alimentary literature”, that is to say the launching of the Maigret novels, signed under his own name, abandoning the pseudonyms. In a few years he would enter the prestigious Gallimard publishing house, accomplishing thus his official entrance into “high literature”.
In the middle of the 20s, the novelist had discovered Porquerolles, when, thanks to Simenon’s first earnings and Tigy’s good sale of a few paintings, they could allow themselves to spend some holidays on the island, which at the time was a true natural paradise. “We landed on the tip of Gien at dawn ... The water and the sky made the effect of fireworks whose sparks entered my head through my eyes…” This sunny island didn’t mean only holidays, but also writing (for Simenon) and painting (for his wife). They returned there in 1934 and in the following years until 1938, spending also some months in winter in a house called Les Tamaris.
The stay in Porquerolles marked an important moment in the novelist’s life, and the novelist integrated perfectly with the locals. In his Intimates Memoirs, Simenon wrote: “I had a strange little house near the sea, at the end of the harbour. Next to the house there stood a square tower, very improbable, topped by a minaret, still more improbable. The garden was overflowing with tamarisks. I had built a quay where my 'pointu' was moored, that is to say my fishing boat”.
This island was for Georges and Tigy a true treasure island and it was the beginning of Simenon’s passion for fishing. The novelist then had built a larger fishing boat and began to employ a man from the island who was known as the better fisherman, named Tado. Simenon went to sea with him, for large fishing trips or to collect the essentials for a rich fish soup.
There were other “obligatorious” activities on the island, such as the matches of pétanque on the town square. “Sometimes we were eight against eight and the matches, under the scorching southern sun, lasted too and half an hour, even three hours – explained Simenon in his Intimates Memoirs – and you could hear all types of accent, all curses in French and in all Italian dialects of the coast. When the match was over, we all went Chez Maurice, at the Noah's Ark, a little inn with a sympathetic bar…”
The climate, the type of life of those southern islanders conquered Tigy and Georges, and above all the novelist, who treasured that stay for his subsequent novels. Between fishing, pétanque matches, bathing, big eating of fish, Simenon’s literary production didn’t stop. Not even in summer, when he began to write in his studio, on the lower floor of the tower, at around four in the morning to avoid the big heat of the day. Among the novels written on the island we can notice Maigret, L’Evadé, Les Clients d’Avrenos, Le Blanc à lunettes, Le Testament Donadieu, Monsieur La Souris, L’homme qui regardait passer les trains, Touriste de bananes, Le Cheval Blanc. Among all these titles there are some of the most beautiful novels written by Simenon. This is a sign that during those years Porquerolles was indeed a treasure island, above all in a literary sense.
Pubblicato da Maurizio Testa a 09:26