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Paintings in Proust: A Visual Companion to In Search of Lost Time
Eric Karpeles
In Search of Lost Time
Marcel Proust, C.K. Scott Moncrieff, Andreas Mayor, Terence Kilmartin, D.J. Enright, Richard Howard
Within a Budding Grove (In Search of Lost Time, #2)
Marcel Proust, C.K. Scott Moncrieff, Terence Kilmartin, D.J. Enright

Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett

Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett - Georges Simenon, Daphne Woodward My first Maigret and the first Maigret.

It was interesting to see many of the existentialist themes with which Simenon grapples in his other work here in a procedural format. While the noir genre does deal with anxieties about identity and gender, in Simenon’s hands noir is a cultural critique of all of these anxieties brought to a head between the two World Wars.In Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett, Maigret faces the brick wall most detective face: circumstantial evidence. While he tries to amass concrete evidence against Pietr Lett, a known criminal on paper but whose life is too clean to place him under arrest, Simenon personalizes Maigret: we see his penchant for cigar smoking and standing too close to stoves for warmth; we see him using his physical body as part of the questioning process; we see him caring for his colleagues and yet also worried that this somehow shows a crack in the veneer of his masculinity. I imagine these are all traits Simenon uses to further make Maigret a real personage to readers in the rest of the Maigret books.While trying to collect information, Maigret faces a case of mixed, doubled, and uncertain identities; this is something Simenon spends a lot of time on—and he even does this in his non-Maigret books, at least from those that I’ve read—for the way identity is shattered and destabilized in this specific time period in France. Simenon’s strength as a writer of detective fiction/police procedurals speaks to his talent evident elsewhere with regard to pacing, an insistence on alienating the reader to underscore the characters’ states of alienation, and a deft manipulation of a fictional personal crisis into an metacommentary of a very real national one.