The Couple from Poitiers

Georges Simenon, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $13.95 (123p) ISBN 978-0-15-122700-6
This is not one of Simenon's acclaimed mysteries starring Inspector Maigret. Published 40 years ago in France, the story is admirably translated by Ellenbogen and retains the strength of the author's personality. The couple from Poitiers are Gerard and Linette Auvinet, who are wed when they are 20 because Linette has become pregnant. Weak, childish Gerard exaggerates the status of a job he will have in Paris, where the couple goes to avoid the disgrace of a premature birth. The husband earns little and squanders it in his yearning to be a suave boulevardier; stealing petty sums from his employers, Gerard indulges himself in nightclubs while Linette remains meekly alone in their shabby hotel room. Pilar, a streetwise woman, picks up the young man and inveigles him into selling jewels she claims are gifts from an ""old friend.'' The outcome of this scheme is surprising in its effects on Gerard, a spineless loser whom Simenon's perceptions force one to pity, although grudgingly. (April 18)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1986
Release date: 04/01/1986
Genre: Fiction
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