WHEN I WAS OLD by Georges Simenon


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That unspecified malaise which is particularly endemic to the French writer is reflected throughout this some 400 page journal kept by Simenon when he was 57 and felt 'old' -- more than ten years ago. Or as he says toward the close, not at home in his skin. He apparently was producing his Maigret novels (they sometimes took only three or four days) but was obsessed by his inability to write and throughout, like Graham Greene who also has been beset in this fashion, he divorces his entertainments from his ""real novels."" Just as he divorces his love for D., his wife, the one woman in whom ""sex and love were merged,"" from other random sexual experiences. These notebooks are a sort of surrogate activity during this precarious time (his wife also was apparently depressed) when the ""color of life changes""; other people appear rarely although apparently the Simenons with their young (including an infant) family lead a reclusive life but are very closely tied to each other and their children; a few names are occasionally inserted -- Gide his old friend and admirer; Buffet; Henry Miller, a ""pure soul"" at seventy. Mostly the notebooks deal with his state of mind and his many, many ideas on man and his irresponsibility, or age, or reality, or politics which ""irritate"" him, etc., etc. The journal then is extended far beyond the personal necessity that it was and forms a scrupulously veracious and informing memoir.

Pub Date: Oct. 20th, 1971
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich