Glasgow Review of Books

Georges Simenon The Grand Banks Café translated by David Coward and The Mahé Circle translated by Siân Reynolds (both forthcoming with Penguin Classics, June 2014)

by Graeme Macrae Burnet

In November 2013, Penguin launched their publication of the complete series of Georges Simenon’s Maigret novels, all in new translations by renowned translators such as David Bellos, Anthea Bell and, in the case of the current volumes, David Coward and Siân Reynolds It’s a colossal venture, seventy-five titles to be issued monthly for six years, with the stated aim of bringing Simenon’s work to a wider British audience. This is welcome, of course, but there persists a feeling, in the UK at least, that Simenon’s novels are fast food rather than fine dining; there to be guzzled in quantity, rather than lingered over. It’s a perception for which the author himself must bear some responsibility, given that he hardly lingered over…

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