cover image Donadieu's Will

Donadieu's Will

Georges Simenon. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $22.95 (343pp) ISBN 978-0-15-126310-3

This early (1937) novel by the world's bestselling author, who died in 1989, offers a rich feast to not only dedicated Simenon readers but to those who value certain literary traditions as well. In a story that owes much to Flaubert, the body of Oscar Donadieu, a heroic figure in the small town of La Rochelle, is found floating in the harbor that is home port to the ships that contribute to the vast Donadieu family fortunes. As his family tries to function without their patriarch, extraordinary entanglements emerge. Into this web of festering relationships comes Phillipe Dargens, an ambitious young man who hopes to marry into the family. Suspicions of murder abound, as assorted intrigues bubble just beneath the surface of life in this provincial world. Timeless in its scope, magnificent in its descriptive power, this is a book to be savored for its texture and Proustian flourishes as well as its knowing portrait of a family rich in material things and impoverished in love and faith. (Apr.)