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Georges Simenon (1903–1989) was born in Liège, Belgium. He went to work as a reporter at the age of fifteen and in 1923 moved to Paris, where under various pseudonyms he became a highly successful and prolific author of pulp fiction while leading a dazzling social life. In the early 1930s, Simenon emerged as a writer under his own name, gaining renown for his detective stories featuring Inspector Maigret. He also began to write his psychological novels, or romans durs—books in which he displays a sympathetic awareness of the emotional and spiritual pain underlying the routines of daily life. Having written nearly two hundred books under his own name and become the best-selling author in the world, Simenon retired as a novelist in 1973, devoting himself instead to dictating several volumes of memoirs.
Joyce Carol Oates is the author most recently of the novel The Accursed. She is Roger S. Berlind Professor in the Arts and the Humanities at Princeton.
Marc Romano is a writer living in New York City. He has translated two other novels by Georges Simenon, both published by New York Review Books: Dirty Snow (with Louise Varèse) and Three Bedrooms in Manhattan (with Lawrence G. Blochman).
“Attention should be paid to the New York Review of Books' continuing reissues of Georges Simenon. Simenon was legendary both for his literary skill–four or five books every year for 40 years–and his sexual capacity, at least to hear him tell it. What we can speak of with some certainty are the novels, which are tough, rigorously unsentimental and full of rage, duplicity and, occasionally, justice. Simenon's tone and dispassionate examination of humanity was echoed by Patricia Highsmith, who dispensed with the justice. So far, the Review has published Tropic Moon, The Man Who Watched Trains Go By, Red Lights, Dirty Snow and Three Bedrooms in Manhattan; The Strangers in the House comes out in November. Try one, and you'll want to read more.” –The Palm Beach Post
"Georges Simenon is a recent discovery for me—not the Maigret books, but what Simenon called his 'romans durs', such as Dirty Snow and Three Bedrooms in Manhattan— and hard they are indeed. The latest of these New York Review Books reissues, Tropic Moon (translated from the French by Marc Romano) is a dark masterpiece set among French colonials in heart-of-darkness Gabon in the early 1930s. Cruel, erotic, frightening and superb."
— John Banville, The Los Angeles Times
"Simenon was immensely admired by both Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett…[His novels] compare favourably with the murky grey worlds of James M. Cain, Jim Thompson and Patricia Highsmith with their ambiguous world view of innocents and criminals caught in the whirlpools of fate and struggling to make sense of their existence…Three Bedrooms in Manhattan is one of his most erotic and emotionally charged stories."
— Maxim Jakubowski, The Times (London)
"Three Bedrooms in Manhattan is about how we resist love, how we get dragged into it, spat out, dragged back in against our will….Blinking neon blankets the story in an atmosphere of general decay—in life and trust and the merest possibility of love….Simenon takes whatever slender threads he can find in his characters that hold them to life. He shows how relentlessly the mind tries to sabotage the heart."
— Susan Salter Reynolds, The Los Angeles Times