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En cas de malheur : roman av Georges Simenon
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En cas de malheur : roman (urspr publ 1956; utgåvan 1978)

av Georges Simenon

Serier: Non-Maigret (86)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1454144,406 (3.91)1
Les femmes, Lucien Gobillot les conna t: quarante-cinq ans, et bien que mari , cet avocat la carri re brillante, due un mariage ambitieux et quelques complaisances, multiplie les aventures sans lendemain. Tout change lorsque Yvette accus e d'agression contre un vieil horloger, fait irruption dans son cabinet, pr te le payer de ses charmes. L'avocat parvient la faire acquitter. Commence alors une histoire amoureuse qui va l'entra ner plus loin qu'il n'e t voulu aller, dans une aventure o surgiront la menace, puis le crime... D'un c t , le confort moral et l'hypocrisie d'un homme arriv ; de l'autre, un monde louche, sordide mais fascinant. C'est un tableau d'un r alisme assez sombre que nous brosse Georges Simenon, en m me temps que la description, saisissante de v rit , d'une passion destructrice.… (mer)
Medlem:Arkadia_Bookshop
Titel:En cas de malheur : roman
Författare:Georges Simenon
Info:[Paris] : Presses de la Cité, 1978.
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:fiction, in french, fiction in french, crime, mystery

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In Case of Emergency av Georges Simenon (1956)

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I had the good fortune some years back to visit Paris and take a leisurely walk along the Seine on a crisp, sunny March afternoon, from the Eiffel Tower to Notre-Dame Cathedral. The city’s splendor and beauty was enough to almost put me on my knees. As if floating on a cushion of air, I ambled through streets captivated by the Parisians: a tall gent striding along with his sizable loaf of French bread, a little girl holding her doll, looking at pastries in a shop window. That evening at a restaurant on a side street in the bohemian district, I sat at a long table with a number of strangers, natives of Paris, and quickly engaged in a lively conversation about books and art and architecture.

Georges Simenon’s 1956 In Case of Emergency gives us a radically different picture of the city and its people as seen through the eyes of a lawyer at the pinnacle of his career, a wealthy criminal advocate living with his wife on Quai d'Anjou in the Ile Saint-Louis. A man with a somewhat hideous face and large bulging eyes, our first-person narrator is none other than that supremely persuasive barrister prompting a journalist to write: "If you're innocent, take any good lawyer. If you're guilty, get in touch with Maître Gobillot."

And what manner of man is Maître Lucian Gobillot outside the law courts? He tells us directly what ordinary people consider delights and diversions are not for him: “the prospect of strolling along the Champs-Elysées makes me sick.” As in his portrayal of protagonists from numerous other novels, Georges Simenon had the uncanny knack for zeroing in on a telling detail that reveals so much of an individual's character. And let's recall the spirit of the flâneur, that stylish literary personality who took great joy as an urban explorer and connoisseur of streets and boulevards. In many respects, such an aesthetically attuned stroller is the exact opposite of toady Maître Gobillot.

It’s a cold, damp, rainy November and Lucian Gobillot intends to write the dossier based on his own life. Where to start? Perhaps a year ago when a thin, run down teenager by the name of Yvette came to his office having committed a hold-up and not wishing to face a stiff prison term. Since she, of course, didn’t have any money, she offered him what she did have: “Pulling up her skirt to her waist, she lay back, whispering: “As much as you want before they put me in jail.” Yvette’s luring invite, her thin thighs, her rounded, childish belly and dark triangle below all go to Gobillot’s head like an intoxicant.

So begins Simenon's dark, tough as nails romans durs, a tale of twisted obsession and murky passions (not only Gobillot's but Yvette's and others) that brings to mind philosopher Thomas Hobbes’ observation that life is nasty, brutish and short.

Writing his dossier Maître Gobillot demands reason and absolute truth in assessing his own life. After all, he has employed reason and logic as tools to win over a jury with convincing arguments in defense of the seediest, scummiest criminals. But the more he probes, the more the lawyer recognizes his obsessiveness and ongoing relationship with Yvette is anything but rational - he is driven by intense animal emotions in his rundown, flabby body. Even as his doctor plies him with pills and injections, he is racked by ailments, a man forty-five pushing seventy.

At one point Gobillot worries his carcass will not hold out - reminding me of Pablo from Jean-Paul Sartre’s The Wall who feels tied to his body as if to an enormous vermin. I link Simenon with Sartre to underline Georges Simenon, frequently associated with his Inspector Maigret and pigeonholed as a hack mystery writer, shares much in common with French existentialism. It is also worth noting bleak, existential The Fall by Albert Camus was also published in 1956.

Gobillot can’t do without Yvette; he admits to suffering physical pain when separated from her, a young woman he sees as both vulnerable and wild, a mixture of naïveté and deceit, of innocence and vice.

Perhaps one cause of the lawyer’s extreme attraction goes back to Carl Jung and his rebirth archetype – a time in an individual’s life crying out for an enlargement of personality, the classic mid-life crisis. I offer this as only one possibility for consideration. Simenon presents the fetid underbelly of human nature that’s not about to be reduced to reasoned explanation or psychological formula.

As for Yvette herself, Simenon is unsparing from every angle: for starters, she has difficulty separating fact from fiction, forever telling stories and then ends up believing them herself. Most of all, Yvette has a ravenous, insatiable hunger for men and sex.

Meanwhile, where does wife Viviane stand in relation to her husband? The more we turn the pages the more we discover she is every bit as selfish. As long as her wealth, social standing and ability to mix with the upper echelons of society are not jeopardized, as far as Viviane is concerned, ugly Gobillot can go to Yvette or he can go to hell.

Gobillot reflects: “After the nervous effort of an important speech in court, after the strain of waiting for a verdict, I nearly always feel the need to let off steam violently, and for years I used to go straight to a brothel on the Rue Duphot. I’m not unique in this.” He certainly is not unique in this – Georges Simenon did exactly the same thing after writing a novel!

In Case of Emergency is a study in muddy psychological depths, a novel I judge an overlooked gem. ( )
  Glenn_Russell | Mar 31, 2018 |
Straordinario noir, uno dei migliori che abbia mai letto. ( )
  Lilliblu | Aug 4, 2012 |
Les femmes, Lucien Gobillot les connaît : à quarante-cinq ans , et bien que marié, cet avocat à la carrière brillante, due à un mariage ambitieux et à quelques complaisances, multiplie les aventures sans lendemain. Tout change lorsque Yvette accusée d'agression contre un vieil horloger, fait irruption dans son cabinet, prête à le payer de ses charmes. L'avocat parvient à la faire acquitter. Commence alors une histoire amoureuse qui va l'entraîner plus loin qu'il n'eût voulu aller, dans une aventure où surgiront la menace, puis le crime...
  vdb | Aug 15, 2010 |
This first-person narrative from Georges Simenon is a masterly study in power, control and obsession. A prominent, successful middle-aged lawyer takes on a feral young mistress, knowing it's foolish. His coming to grips with the motivations and machinations of his mistress, his wife, and ultimately himself is a fascinating journey through a highly-developed and well-imagined personality. ( )
1 rösta mrtall | Dec 12, 2007 |
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Les femmes, Lucien Gobillot les conna t: quarante-cinq ans, et bien que mari , cet avocat la carri re brillante, due un mariage ambitieux et quelques complaisances, multiplie les aventures sans lendemain. Tout change lorsque Yvette accus e d'agression contre un vieil horloger, fait irruption dans son cabinet, pr te le payer de ses charmes. L'avocat parvient la faire acquitter. Commence alors une histoire amoureuse qui va l'entra ner plus loin qu'il n'e t voulu aller, dans une aventure o surgiront la menace, puis le crime... D'un c t , le confort moral et l'hypocrisie d'un homme arriv ; de l'autre, un monde louche, sordide mais fascinant. C'est un tableau d'un r alisme assez sombre que nous brosse Georges Simenon, en m me temps que la description, saisissante de v rit , d'une passion destructrice.

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