The Guardian - 11/02/2020 - Sam Jordison - Georges Simenon’s remarkable novel manages to make its loathsome protagonist compelling company - If you’ve just read The Snow Was Dirty because you were encouraged to do so by the Reading Group, I should both apologise and congratulate you. The apology because, oh god, this book is bleak. The congratulations because it’s also an immortal masterpiece. First, the darkness. In an afterword in the New York Review of Books edition, William T. Vollmann says that in this book “Simenon has concentrated noir into a darkness as solid and heavy as the interior of a dwarf star”. That’s putting it mildly. Simenon doesn’t so much tell us a story as confront us with one. It’s a close third person narration. Uncomfortably close. Because the thoughts and desires of Frank Friedmaier are nasty, brutish and confusing. He’s the 19-year-old son of a brothel madam who, within the first few pages of the book, picks up a knife from his “friend” Kromer in a sordid bar and decides to kill a man...>>>
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