cover image Striptease


Georges Simenon. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $17.95 (170pp) ISBN 978-0-15-185910-8

Refining storytelling to near-Spartan brevity, Simenon is bound to provoke intense reactions to his fiction, whether policiers or ``straight novels'' like this one. Brain's translation of the 1958 French edition, true to the author's original, brings us to the tacky Monico nightclub in Cannes. Celita, a veteran among the semipro entertainers, perceives a threat when Maud shows up to audition as a stripper. Aware of the scheming tramp behind Maud's pose of sweet naivete, Celita fears the new girl will seduce Leon, owner of the Monico, and ruin Celita's chances to win him away from his wife. Desperate to get rid of her rival, Celita becomes the loser in a psychological battle. Although the result is ineluctably tragic, as hinted in mounting events, it comes as a shock, especially since Simenon fills us with pity for all the poor ``dancers'' who live such loveless, hopeless lives. (Sept.)