Oh yeah, this is what I’m talking about. As I was finishing this gem of a book, I got the wild notion that I should collect all of Simenon’s romans durs that I can get my hands on and finish out my quad Cannonball with nothing but those. The book was that thrilling. Of course I do see the problems with that, but it was a wonderfully exciting thought for a moment there. Like falling in love. And this is primarily a love story, though one unlike any I have encountered.
Francois Combe is a French actor who has moved to New York City after his public and painful divorce. They were both actors in Paris and when she left him for a much younger man (and also an actor), he couldn’t bear seeing them together, much less having to work with them. He thought Hollywood would welcome him with open arms, but when he didn’t get the reception he thought he deserved he decamped to New York, where depression and inertia set in.
One night he meets Kay in a bar and they begin to talk and are soon walking all over Greenwich Village, stopping in little bars along the way. He can’t bear to take her back to his solitary room, so they check into a hotel. Over the course of this book, we go on a journey through the city, which is as much a character as this man and woman are. Told from Francois’ point of view, the language is clear and simple, almost like a great noir novel, but chock full of real human emotion. Francois could be a weak and petty man, yet still magnificent in love. As we all hope to be.
” It was a new day. Calmly, without fear or suspicion, and only a little awkwardly, because it was all so new, they began to live again.”