The Train (Neversink)


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The boy Marcel, who was born in , sees his mother, head shaven, driven in disgrace from their village in the Ardennes, probably for consorting with Germans during World War I. Meanwhile, his father, a reliable man before the war, returns from the front lines as an emotionally erratic alcoholic. Finally, Marcel acquires tuberculosis and lives his teenage years in a sanatorium, where he receives institutional care.

Almost immediately, the family divides and Marcel, shuttling toward the south of France in a crowded boxcar, gradually assembles a new and genuine emotional life that centers on Anna, another refugee. On one hand, this style--many paragraphs are single sentences--produces a disciplined narrative, with the stages of Marcel's new emotional life emerging with both clarity and credibility.

On the other, Marcel's laconic voice offers little reading pleasure. That voice suits Marcel, who is conventional and emotionally guarded. But it has no flash or flourish. THE TRAIN is the sort of novel that converts into an involving movie, since its story is linear and touching while its prose does not burden a director with impossible-to-capture literary nuance.

Rounded up to four stars. Love showed him for a brief interlude the amazing glory of life. In most hands other than Simenon's the experience of love and the intense natural wonder would have been transformative. This is a very powerful work of art, reminding us that the portion of joy which illuminates moments of our lives is by far the minor portion. And, secondarily, for students of France during the German Occupation, this book is a sobering reminder that the ordinary muffles even the most horrific deeds of history.

I never cease to be amazed by Simenon. I've lost track of the number of novels I've read by him. What shocks me is they have all been pretty good and I've barely scratched the surface of his body of work. This novel reiterates a common theme of Simenon's. You take an ordinary , even plodding man, and you unmoor him. You watch him become someone else. The plasticity or unfixed nature of the human personality clearly interested Simenon quite a bit.

Here WW2 winds up being an opportunity for the narrator, Marcel ,to be another man. Yet, he is is this other man for only a few weeks and much as he enjoys it, he always intends to go back to his old life. Which he does quite effortlessly. The novel is his reflection on this brief moment in his life which he readily concedes was the most interesting part of his life. The novel works , in large part , because this is shown rather matter of factly.

There is no high drama and very little romance. The author captures the strangeness of everyday people with remarkable fluency. We are all Martians at times. The narrative is swift and wonderfully told. And if I can be forgiven for stating the obvious, Simenon can really write and the translation reflects his great virtues.

The prose is lean and full of movement. Every observation, every detail selected for attention counts. And not to give away too much, but this is about as unsentimental a love story as you will ever encounter. See all 35 reviews. Most recent customer reviews. Published 6 months ago. Published 1 year ago. Published on August 10, Published on July 9, Published on August 22, Published on April 17, Published on April 1, Published on March 18, Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.

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View or edit your browsing history. Get to Know Us. English Choose a language for shopping. Let me summarize it for you: Dude leaves screwed girl in the dust and goes back to his life. Dude needs to go to hell. Jul 04, Ken rated it liked it Shelves: I was tempted to click "classic newly-read," one of my shelves, but then Simenon falls into one of those categories of confusion.

Is he "classic" because he is so well-known? I do know Hemingway was reading him in A Moveable Feast , one of my favorite misspelled classics in literature. The Lodger, it was.


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Here I tried The Train , penned in when Simenon was a young, pipe-toking years-young. A wonderful economy with words, the Frenchman had, and he invokes a mood of sorts, too. Old France ending after one and now a second paroxysm. This is about the Nazi invasion of France and a particular middle-class gent's experience as a train bound refugee.

It's first-person POV, and our man who repairs radios for a living is rather indifferent to uprooting his whole life and training south with his pregnant wife and 4-year-old daughter. He gets separated from wife and child -- they on the carriages with seats and he on a cattle car -- until numerous unexpected divisions of train cars carried off by new engines separate them for good.

Miraculously, the narrator meets a Czech woman, much younger and half Jewish, who is also a refugee. More than that, she is yet another vehicle, only in this case for a missed part of his life. A fantasy of sorts, set to the tune of invasion in an almost idyllic outside the train, at least landscape. The plot is a bit convenient, but the atmosphere is nice, and breathing the pages of an old, Kennedy-era hardcover while reading in the sun will send you back. Back to Camelot, when the smell of book paper and ink were perfumes of the Gods! Un romanzo con alcune pagine folgoranti.

Un evento che per ognuno costituisce tr Un romanzo con alcune pagine folgoranti. Ecco dove sta la grandezza di Simenon: Non sono un'appassionata di Simenon, mi piace ma non mi travolge. Sia che si tratti di Maigret sia degli altri suoi romanzi. Rimango fredda per quel suo determinismo di fondo, le "cose" accadono e lui pretende di raccontarle in modo oggettivo. Insomma, cerca di negare la passione, anzi non la nega ma la annega in un mare di descrizioni. Simenon sembra un entomologo che vivisezione il suo insetto, che lo mette alla prova con qualche goccia di acido e poi, soddisfatto, lo rilascia.

Quella che ti andare in libreria a comperarne subito un altro. Oct 10, Fantaghiro23 rated it it was amazing. Short, clear, and beautifully haunting sentences. A central character who feels real, evokes empathy, but also horror. A story, though set in WWII, shows isolated patches of beauty. I am happy I finally got to read him. Dec 12, Ng M.

Mar 28, Jim rated it it was amazing Shelves: It's a little strange for me to read a Simenon without tagging it as a mystery. Over the years, I have probably read about twenty of his works, most of them being Inspector Maigret novels, the rest his romans durs , or "hard novels. A family from Furay in the Ardennes Forest near the Belgian border, has packed up all their be It's a little strange for me to read a Simenon without tagging it as a mystery.

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A family from Furay in the Ardennes Forest near the Belgian border, has packed up all their belongings and gone to the railroad station to board one of the refugee trains. At the station, Marcel Feron is separated from his pregnant wife and little child, who are put in one of the first-class coaches, while the others are relegated to boxcars.

We follow Marcel in the boxcar. Somewhere along the journey, he discovers that the boxcars have been separated from the passenger cars, and that his wife and child are missing. Not to worry, however, for Marcel has found a new sweetie, one Anna Kupfer, a Czech Jew who had been released from a Belgian prison for what? As Marcel and Anna become more involved, making open love in their boxcars many of the others are doing the same , we begin to notice that Marcel is strangely dissociated from the ones he loves.

Although he tries repeatedly to find out what happens to his family, Marcel has blossomed: I am not ashamed to say that I was happy, with a happiness which bore the same relation to everyday happiness as the sound produced by passing a violin bow across the wrong side of the bridge bears to the normal sound of a violin. It was sharp and exquisite, and deliciously painful.

Earlier on, while they were still on the train, Marcel notes that "smells existed as they had in my childhood, the quivering of the air, the imperceptible noises of life. This dissociation is very typical of the author's romans durs. It was not unlikely that this had much to do with Simenon's own dissociations connected with his rather strange love life: Like Wilt Chamberlain, he claimed to have slept with over ten thousand women.

A friend of mine who was living in Paris for a while knew a woman who claimed that Simenon raped her. I won't divulge the ending, but this dissociation works both ways, as we see as we read the book. Although this is a somewhat strange work in Simenon's vast oeuvre , it is not only superbly written, but reminiscent of other great French writers.


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  • I couldn't have written The Stranger. View all 3 comments. Marcel packs his family up and they get on the train meant to take them away from the danger. Throughout the train ride Marcel relives the day when him and his wife first met, their first train ride together, and all that she represented. It may not have been acceptable under normal circumstances, but the circumstances were far from normal. He continues searching for his family but stays with Anna till the very end.

    It was quite sad when the two finally parted ways. Overall, this was an interesting reflection of WWII but also of the human response to traumatic situations and the bonds that we create with individuals out of the instinctual need to grasp at life. You know those books where the plot is not much action but the characters and settings are so powerfully done it sells the book?

    That's this book about a French man and his family fleeing the advancing Germans. And then you get to the end and you go wow, when you put it down. Jun 05, Andy Weston rated it it was amazing.

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    I need glasses with increasingly thick lenses. I am a fairly prosperous, quiet, rather dull man. Our narrator, Marcel Feron, is one of those boarding a train to a safer place. He is separated from his pregnant wife and daughter as Simenon's story begins. It is a very special story also, quite like no other because of the Feron's ch "My hair has receded. It is a very special story also, quite like no other because of the Feron's character. He is less bothered by air attacks on the train and nearby villages, and more interested by the mundanity of local life.

    He doesn't worry about his wife and daughter, and actually enjoys the break from his usual life. It is a story of selfishness and a very honest one. In those dreadful days in the aftermath of a terrorist attack or a particularly bloody episode of a war, media and the public want heroes. Even small acts of selflessness make headline news. This is a story of the opposite, and because the full picture Marcel Feron reveals itself slowly, the twist in the last two pages is unexpected and extremely powerful, and make this a memorable read.

    What an extraordinary, wonderful short novel.

    The Train » Melville House Books

    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.

    The story pulls you along and pulls you in at the same time. 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 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. Feb 08, Steven rated it really liked it.

    Really liked this book but I can't really pinpoint why.

    NS 39G Puts on a Great Show at Neversink- July 2, 2009

    I love how the main character just forgets his life and goes with the new situation, and sort of feels happy that for the time being, he forfeits his old life. Another interesting note is that I got this used off of a third party seller on Amazon, and inside the book someone had underlined certain passages.

    And I had to ask myself, what do all these passages have in common? As some other reviewer lmao has pointed out, parts of this book c Really liked this book but I can't really pinpoint why. As some other reviewer lmao has pointed out, parts of this book could be viewed as "chauvinistic" although I can't say that I agree with that. Anyway after reading that one review, I realized that's what all the underlined passages were portraying. She even went as far as to write "Eww" under some of the passages. I love it when used books have little things like that in them.

    Or even finding old bookmarks of various kinds , like an old plane ticket. Oct 22, Karen rated it really liked it. Georges Simenon fascinates me. He writes these hauntingly taut stories that have a surprise ending. I've read both of his Inspector Maigret mysteries and what has been called his "Hard Novels", and Simenon has grown on me. The Train is one of the Hard Novels.

    Marcel Feron and his pregnant wife and daughter have decided to flee to the south of France, to escape the Germans. They are able to get on the train, but Marcel is sep Georges Simenon fascinates me. They are able to get on the train, but Marcel is separated from his wife and daughter before the train leaves the station. The story is now about what happens to Marcel from being separated from is family until he meets up with them again.

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