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Reviews

The Mahé Circle is a sort of masterpiece; one says “sort of” because the book does not call itself to our attention in any purely literary way. Simenon’s uniqueness is that he created high literature in seemingly low forms. This novel, like most of the romans durs, reads like a piece of pulp fiction: it is brief, fast-paced, with an air of the slapdash that is, however, wholly deceptive. True, Simenon wrote fast, and revised little. Yet his artistry is supreme. The account in this book of old Madame Mahé’s descent into illness and death is a sublime piece of writing, as good, in its unforced and unemphatic way, as anything in Proust or even Flaubert.’ – John Banville, New York Review of Books

‘I love reading Simenon. He makes me think of Chekhov’ – William Faulkner

‘A truly wonderful writer . . . marvellously readable – lucid, simple, absolutely in tune with the world he creates’ – Muriel Spark

‘Few writers have ever conveyed with such a sure touch, the bleakness of human life’  – A. N. Wilson

‘One of the greatest writers of the twentieth century . . . Simenon was unequalled at making us look inside, though the ability was masked by his brilliance at absorbing us obsessively in his stories’  – Guardian

‘A novelist who entered his fictional world as if he were part of it’  – Peter Ackroyd

‘The greatest of all, the most genuine novelist we have had in literature’  – André Gide

‘Superb . . . The most addictive of writers . . . A unique teller of tales’  – Observer

‘The mysteries of the human personality are revealed in all their disconcerting complexity’  – Anita Brookner

‘A writer who, more than any other crime novelist, combined a high literary reputation with popular appeal’ – P. D. James

‘A supreme writer . . . Unforgettable vividness’  – Independent ‘Compelling, remorseless, brilliant’  – John Gray

‘Extraordinary masterpieces of the twentieth century’ – John Banville

Penguin UK’s Simenon editions received excellent reviews at the end of 2014 and were featured in several UK “Books Of The Year 2014” lists, including: Best Fiction in Translation (Boyd Tonkin, The Independent) and Crime Books of the Year (Barry Forshaw, Financial Times ). Highlights from some reviews:   

‘It may be cheating to place work by the late Simenon among the best of the year, but his Maigret books are being republished in new translations and are comprehensively better than most current crime entries.’ – Barry Forshaw, Financial Times

‘My great discovery this year was George Simenon (translated by David Bellos, Anthea Bell, Linda Coverdale and many more). Penguin have taken on the admirably impressive task of retranslating all of his novels over a 7 year period. . . . These short novels capture society in post-war France, highlighting the class divide and the rise of the petit-bourgeoisie, the growth of cities and the fear of immigration, and desperate measures people go to out of fear, greed or just trying to survive.’  – Roland Gulliver, Associate Director, Edinburgh International Book Festival

‘These slim volumes are a joy. Try the early Maigret title Night at the Crossroads (£6.99) or The Mahé Circle ( £7.99), the first ever English translation of a story of obsession. What they have in common is crisp, economical prose, unexpected emotional depth and a strange sense of modernity.’  – Andrew Taylor, The Spectator

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‘I love reading Simenon. He makes me think of Chekhov’

William Faulkner

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