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Posted July 4, 2011
Rediscover a Masterpiece
I received a free electronic copy of The Train, by Georges Simenon, translated from French by Robert Baldick. What an extraordinary, wonderful short novel. This is the story of one man's experience during the German invasion of France at the outset of World War II. The invasion is merely the backdrop for the physical and emotional journey of one man. Marcel Feron is leading an ordinary life with his own business, a child and a pregnant wife. The invasion of Belgium is at once anticipated and unexpected. It is also the turning point in his life leading to a series of decisions that open up vistas to him he had never imagined. Simenon's prose is straightforward and beautiful. The story pulls you along and pulls you in at the same time. Marcel's view is almost detached as his life is uprooted and he begins to learn things about himself that he never suspected. You gradually learn more about the past that shaped him as the titular train he is escaping on moves further away from the life he had known. Each word rings with meaning and the end of the novel leaves you both satisfied and melancholy. It is as poignant today as when it was first written in 1961. This is one of those books that you might never discover. I was fortunate to stumble across it. If it crosses your path, snatch it up. You won't regret it.
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