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Three Beds in Manhattan (1946)

de Georges Simenon

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4681239,175 (3.43)21
An actor, recently divorced, at loose ends in New York; a woman, no less lonely, perhaps even more desperate than the man: they meet by chance in an all-night diner and are drawn to each other on the spot. Roaming the city streets, hitting its late-night dives, dropping another coin into yet another jukebox, these two lost souls struggle to understand what it is that has brought them, almost in spite of themselves, together. They are driven--from moment to moment, from bedroom to bedroom--to improvise the most unexpected of love stories, a tale of suspense where risk alone offers salvation. Georges Simenon was the most popular and prolific of the twentieth century's great novelists. Three Bedrooms in Manhattan--closely based on the story of his own meeting with his second wife--is his most passionate and revealing work.… (més)
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Brilliant, in my view. It depicts two sad and lonely souls who meet up in New York. At times it is sordid but beneath it all there is a desperate need for love. It is a read in one session book and all about loneliness in a big city. ( )
  jon1lambert | Dec 21, 2020 |
‘’It wasn’t on purpose that he sat down beside the woman. He realized it only when the white-coated black waiter was standing in front of him, impatient for his order.
The place smelled of fairgrounds, of lazy crowds, of nights when you stayed out because you couldn’t go to bed, and it smelled like New York, of its calm and brutal indifference.’’

Two strangers, a struggling French actor and a mysterious socialite, meet in a downtown diner in Greenwich Village, in Manhattan, as night turns into day. They decide to wander the streets of New York, and soon become lovers. Through the course of a few months, New York becomes the background of a stormy and fragile relationship between two people who must leave their wounds behind in order not to fall apart.

‘’They were hardly man and woman. They were two beings who needed each other.’’

Georges Simenon, one of the most important writers of the 20th century, wrote Three Bedrooms In Manhattan, inspired by Edward Hopper’s painting Nighthawks, a work that left its mark in American Realism. It is impossible to stay apathetic in front of Harper’s masterpiece -and this is true for the vast majority of his work - your mind immediately starts working, unconsciously writing a story. Who are these people? Why are they alone? Why are they dining in such a late hour? What is going on between them?

There is a dark, dreamy quality in Hopper’s Nighthawks and the same feeling and atmosphere permeate Simenon’s novel. In sparse, unadorned and flowing writing, we witness the story though Francois’s eyes and enter his rather troubled mind. Wounded by betrayal, he is afraid to accept Kay’s influence on him, to the point of obsession and momentary madness, while Kay’s sensitivity, fragility and flightiness provide the unreliable point of focus that makes us wonder on the evolution of the couple’s sentimental Odyssey in the city that never sleeps. And New York is there to remind them of their past choices and mistakes and to shelter a love that was born in its nightly streets, in an empty diner.

‘’She stumbled a few times because of her high heels. After about a hundred yards, she took his arms, and it seemed like the two of them had been walking the streets of New York at five in the morning, from the beginning of time.’’

Many thanks to Penguin Classics and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.wordpress.com/ ( )
  AmaliaGavea | Jul 16, 2020 |
Francois Combe flees his cheap apartment to get away from his neighbors' noise and ends up at a diner. He sits down at the counter and is immediately in conversation with Kay, who is also French. Conversation through their meal leads to a walk around the city and visits to many of the dive bars. Kay knows them all. The next few days see the two behave in ways that usually take months to reveal, but Kay is an incessant talker, and Francois demands to know everything. They stay the first few nights at a hourly hotel and spend hours walking the city and drinking. Francois quickly becomes insanely jealous, then abusive, even while noting that he doesn't find Kay attractive. It's clear that both have lived much better lives before they met and that the biggest reason they are clinging so tightly together is from fear. The reader has no idea where the story is going because the characters don't know where they stand themselves. ( )
  mstrust | Nov 19, 2019 |
D’habitude, les romans d’amour ne se trouvent pas parmi mes choix de lecture. J’avais visionné le film du même titre, de Marcel Carné. Parmi les choses qui m’ont fait visionner le film, c’était avoir la ville de New York en arrière-plan. Donc c’est inévitable que je préfère le film plutôt que le livre. Sans avoir visionné le film, je n’aurai pas tellement apprécié le livre. Néanmoins, en tant que francophile hispanophone en milieu anglophone, j’ai apprécié le style simple, mais élégant de Georges Simenon. Je peux recommander ce livre à ceux qui aiment les romans d’amour aussi qu’aux francophones par choix. ( )
  Carlelis | Aug 6, 2014 |
A very strange and uneven Simenon. At first, the premise is intriguing: a man, François Combe, leaves his flat due to the noise his neighbor and his neighbor’s odd guest make. How Simenon handles city life—and here, more especially, the pulse and feel of Manhattan—is very acute in the opening scenes: how through the thin walls one can “know” one’s neighbors, their inner psychologies, their demons, all without having met them in the flesh; how the city streets become a theatre on which an individual can enact and try to avoid his or her turmoil; how public spaces allow for the private to be dramatized rather than hidden from view.



The latter is the most interesting to me as far as how Simenon handles this: despite the title’s emphasis on interior, private scenes, it is the more public scenes depicting Combe’s increasingly intimate (and, in my reading, increasingly inorganic) relationship with Kay that makes this novel both Simenon and not-Simenon. While there is a stress on psychology, as David suggests, there is too much in the latter part of the novel which results in a very uneven pace, especially for such a short work. I also found the chamber drama and at times claustrophobic dialogue between Combe and Kay to be cliched, oftentimes reminding me of Godard’s films (e.g., Une femme est un femme, Masculin féminin) but without the certainty of Simenon playing with noir and American genres of pulp. Instead, it feels almost as if Simenon is embracing these rather than playing them off and against one another as he does so well at the start of Three Bedrooms... which ultimately sees the narrative fall quickly into disorder.



This is definitely a worthy read, but it also is in no way indicative of Simenon’s major themes or concerns in his more successful fiction. In many ways, this feels like an experiment that half works and half doesn’t: for a writer as prolific as Simenon, perhaps we should applaud him for that rather than begrudge it. ( )
  proustitute | Jul 17, 2014 |
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He woke up suddenly at 3:00 A.M., dead tired, got dressed, and almost went out without his tie, in slippers, coat collar turned up, like people who walk their dogs late at night or very early in the morning.
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An actor, recently divorced, at loose ends in New York; a woman, no less lonely, perhaps even more desperate than the man: they meet by chance in an all-night diner and are drawn to each other on the spot. Roaming the city streets, hitting its late-night dives, dropping another coin into yet another jukebox, these two lost souls struggle to understand what it is that has brought them, almost in spite of themselves, together. They are driven--from moment to moment, from bedroom to bedroom--to improvise the most unexpected of love stories, a tale of suspense where risk alone offers salvation. Georges Simenon was the most popular and prolific of the twentieth century's great novelists. Three Bedrooms in Manhattan--closely based on the story of his own meeting with his second wife--is his most passionate and revealing work.

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NYRB Classics

NYRB Classics ha publicat 2 edicions d'aquest llibre.

Edicions: 159017044X, 1590175611

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