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Maigret audio books

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“What Simenon serves up, in addition to thumping entertainment and a very Gallic blend of misanthropy and sensuality, is inspiration: The example of one of history’s heroic graphomaniacs, a great writer who evidently was never blocked, who churned out hundreds of novels at an Olympian pace. (He told interviewers that it took him 11 days to write a book.) Simenon managed this feat by devoting himself to simplicity and economy. He wrote clear-eyed, sturdy, beautiful sentences that sketched people and places in brisk strokes: “The city looked as if it had been washed in clean water, so bright were the colors”; “She walked ahead of Maigret with that aggressive dignity of those for whom mockery is the worst calamity”; “Big Louis’ features looked swollen; one cheek was bigger than the other, or simply seemed so because of the way he always tilted his head to one side. Puffy flesh, and big eyes that seemed to start from his head.” Simenon’s best lines chime like poetry. Here he is describing a chance meeting between Maigret and a harbormaster in a foggy seaport town: “They shake hands, like two phantoms in the mist. And life goes on in the fog, where one may suddenly bump into an invisible man.””

Jody Rosen interviews Gareth Armstrong – narrataor of the Maigret audiobooks – in the New York Times. Read on for an extract from a Maigret audio book.

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

William Faulkner

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