International Crime Fiction Friday, Late Night Edition: DIRTY SNOW by Georges Simenon

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– Post by Molly

As the night falls, the weekend begins, and the tourists, techies and students take to the streets, we bring you a late-night edition of Crime Fiction Friday. Each week in June, we bring you crime fiction from a different international author.

Tonight, from the archives of NPR, we bring you a review and excerpt from Georges Simenon’s noir take on occupied Paris, Dirty SnowI first read this novel in high school, when my sister brought it home from college. The novel follows a despicable pimp and gangster wandering about occupied Paris seeking either an escalation of crimes and pleasures or the redemption of resistance.

Dirty Snow was reissued by New York Review of Books in the early aughts in an excellent translation by Marc Romano. After I read the novel in English, I later read it in French. Aside from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Dirty Snow is the only crime novel I have read cover-to-cover in French and English. I’m not quite sure what that says about me, but for anyone who enjoys bleak storylines and revisionist WWII narratives, Dirty Snow is the book for you!

Excerpt: Dirty Snow

“It was years since he had been here, but it was impossible for his feet not to follow in his old footsteps. The watchmaker Vilmos and his watches, and his famous garden, these were perhaps his most vivid childhood memories.

Even before reaching the door, he seemed to recognize the smell of the house, which had always had old people in it, since as far as he was concerned the watchmaker Vilmos and his sister had never been young.

Frank took a dark handkerchief out of his pocket and tied it around his face below his eyes. Stan was about to protest.

“You don’t need one. They don’t know you. But if you like . . .”

Click here for the rest of the excerpt. 

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