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La neve era sporca de Georges Simenon
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La neve era sporca (1948 original; edició 2004)

de Georges Simenon

Sèrie: Non-Maigret

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
9512922,038 (3.76)30
Fiction. Mystery. Historical Fiction. HTML:

Nineteen-year-old Frank Friedmaier lives in a country under occupation. Most people struggle to get by; Frank takes it easy in his mother's whorehouse, which caters to members of the occupying forces. But Frank is restless. He is a pimp, a thug, a petty thief, and, as Dirty Snow opens, he has just killed his first man. Through the unrelenting darkness and cold of an endless winter, Frank will pursue abjection until at last there is nowhere to go.

Hans Koning has described Dirty Snow as "one of the very few novels to come out of German-occupied France that gets it exactly right." In a study of the criminal mind that is comparable to Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me, Simenon maps a no man's land of the spirit in which human nature is driven to destruction--and redemption, perhaps, as well--by forces beyond its control.

.… (més)
Membre:MarBreschi
Títol:La neve era sporca
Autors:Georges Simenon
Informació:Milano, Adelphi, 2004
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:Cap

Informació de l'obra

Dirty Snow de Georges Simenon (1948)

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(Read in French)

I downloaded and starting reading this because somehow I had confused Simenon and Patrick Modiano in my head - I was about 100 pages in when I realized that this wasn’t the kind of book I thought it would be, and figured I’d just finish it for French practice anyway.

It kinda struck me as a second rate L’Etranger, taking that books nihilistic dread and turning it into a kind of set piece for a very inconsequential crime story. The finest scene was the break in and murder and the psychological writing about the days that followed where our main man Frank, so detached from any kind of healthy social connections tries to tamp down the part of his humanity that makes him feel guilt. But in contrast to the aforementioned Camus or Crime and Punishment, this murder is merely a plot point, lacking the pathos and depth of those great books. ( )
  hdeanfreemanjr | Jan 29, 2024 |
Simenon creates a character so despicable that it is impossible to feel pity, a pure sociopath in the mold of [a:Albert Camus|957894|Albert Camus|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1506091612p2/957894.jpg]’s [b:The Stranger|49552|The Stranger|Albert Camus|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1349927872l/49552._SY75_.jpg|3324344]. The same existential angst leads the anti-hero to self-actualize himself through brutality and violence, all the while feeling almost nothing. It is telling that he hates the word destiny preferring to think a person makes his own path and that destiny plays no part. Coincidence is allowed, but not destiny.

The whole thing takes place in some unnamed occupied territory after WWII. It appears more Soviet occupied than one of the Western Allies, but is never explicitly stated. Vienna seems a good guess. It’s not really important.

This review sux. Maybe I’ll work on it later. (Maybe not) ( )
  Gumbywan | Jun 24, 2022 |
A Snow Job
Review of the Penguin Books paperback edition (November 3, 2016) of a new translation* by Howard Curtis of the French language original 'La neige était sale' (orig. 1948)

The Snow Was Dirty was the most disappointing of the several Simenon "hard novels" that I've read in my 2022 deep dive into the works of the prolific Belgium novelist. It takes place in Occupied France during the Second World War. After a first third of the book that showed the descent of despicable sociopathic punk Frank Friedmaier into increasingly reckless and debauched levels of crime, the youth is finally arrested by the German occupation authorities and held in an improvised prison formed out of a schoolhouse for the final two thirds.

His German interrogators are seemingly oblivious to Frank's more serious crimes of murder and assault and are instead only curious about how he came into possession of marked currency bills which were only available to the German authorities. Frank is silent about it being his payoff for stealing watches for a German General with a casual murder thrown in. He is in fact mostly silent throughout the last portion of the book until the kindness and forgiveness of his brothel keeper mother and two of his neighbour victims finally bring about his remorse and acceptance of his fate.

This latter section of the book seemed to pass in real time with hardly any drama or suspense aside from wondering when the Germans were going to finally clue in as to whom they were dealing with. The fact that he was arrested in possession of a firearm stolen from one of his Occupier victims did not apparently signal anything to them.

Anyway, it might have been a [3] for the first part, but the tedium of the rest dragged this down to a [1.5] i.e. midway on the GR scale of 1 'did not like it' to 2 'it was ok'. Oddly this was 304 pages long, about twice the length of the average Simenon novel. The added length did not seem at all worthwhile.

See poster at https://m.media-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMzRiMWI5ZjUtYjdkOS00MmY3LWFiNzAtMWU1NGEw...
Promotional poster for the French language film adaptation of 'The Snow Was Dirty.' Image sourced from IMDb.

After reading the first dozen and the final dozen or so of the Simenon Maigret novels this year, I've now read a half-dozen or so of the non-Maigrets. Many of the non-Maigret books are being translated into English for the first time and it seems like there are quite a few yet to be done.

The Snow Was Dirty is the 7th of my readings of Georges Simenon's romans durs** (French: hard novels) which was his personal category for his non-Chief Inspector Maigret fiction. This is like Graham Greene, who divided his work into his "entertainments" and his actual "novels." Similar to Greene, the borders between the two areas are quite flexible as we are often still dealing with crime and the issues of morals and ethics. Simenon's romans durs are definitely in the noir category though, as compared to the sometimes lighter Maigrets where the often cantankerous Chief Inspector provides a solution and the guilty are brought to justice.

Trivia and Links
* La neige était sale has been previously translated into English several times. The earlier translations had titles such as The Snow Was Black, Dirty Snow, and The Stain on the Snow.

** There is a limited selection of 100 books in the Goodreads' Listopia of Simenon's romans durs which you can see here. Other sources say there are at least 117 of them, such as listed at Art and Popular Culture and in the Library Thing "Non-Maigret Series" listing.

La neige était sale was adapted for film in 1954 (some sources give 1952 or 1953) directed by Argentinian Luis Saslavsky, with actor Daniel Gélin as Frank Friedmaier. A French language excerpt (without subtitles) can be seen at Daily Motion.

There is a French language plot summary for La neige était sale at the Tout Simenon (All of Simenon) website, which you can read here (spoilers obviously). ( )
  alanteder | Jun 2, 2022 |
John Banville rec. Dark, claustrophobic wartime existential noir. ( )
  wordloversf | Aug 14, 2021 |
Frank is nineteen years old in a city under an occupying force, presumably Paris during WWII. He lives on the fringes of society, even more so than others in the city. His mother runs a brothel that’s popular with the occupying army. Frank beds the girls as his due and lives large through crime.

Frank proceeds through life under occupation with a fatalistic attitude. He’s committed two murders – one during a robbery and the other for no particular reason. He summons “fate to take an interest in him.” He’s “courting it, searching everywhere for it.” “He didn’t have enough enemies and he was trying his best to create them.”

When he’s finally picked up and held by the occupiers Frank thinks he’s ready. He holds out as long as he wants to, although he’s not really tortured – more like questioned repeatedly. Since he has touched, and actually courted - corruption at a high level, Frank knows he’s not going to get out alive. He can at least dictate his circumstances a bit until he manipulates a visit from a girl he wronged and her father, whom he simultaneously detests and admires. Then he gives his interrogators what they want and welcomes his punishment. ( )
  Hagelstein | Mar 13, 2021 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Georges Simenonautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Curtis, HowardTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Marber;, RomekDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Pujol, CarlosTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Ricart, Rosa M.Traductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Rudolph, SebastianNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Vollmann, William T.autor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Wachinger, KristianTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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It was a game he had invented, like the games he used to make up as a child, which he alone understood. It had usually been in his bed in the morning, while Madame Porse was preparing breakfast, and preferably when it was sunny outside. His eyes closed, he would think, for example, "Fly!" Then he would half open his eyes, looking at a certain spot on the wallpaper. If there was a fly there, he won. Now he might have said, "Destiny!" NYRB Ed p 133
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Fiction. Mystery. Historical Fiction. HTML:

Nineteen-year-old Frank Friedmaier lives in a country under occupation. Most people struggle to get by; Frank takes it easy in his mother's whorehouse, which caters to members of the occupying forces. But Frank is restless. He is a pimp, a thug, a petty thief, and, as Dirty Snow opens, he has just killed his first man. Through the unrelenting darkness and cold of an endless winter, Frank will pursue abjection until at last there is nowhere to go.

Hans Koning has described Dirty Snow as "one of the very few novels to come out of German-occupied France that gets it exactly right." In a study of the criminal mind that is comparable to Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me, Simenon maps a no man's land of the spirit in which human nature is driven to destruction--and redemption, perhaps, as well--by forces beyond its control.

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