Three Bedrooms in Manhattan
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About the author
Georges Simenon (1903–1989) was born in Liège, Belgium. He went to work as a reporter at the age of fifteen and in 1923 moved to Paris, where under various pseudonyms he became a highly successful and prolific author of pulp fiction while leading a dazzling social life. In the early 1930s, Simenon emerged as a writer under his own name, gaining renown for his detective stories featuring Inspector Maigret. He also began to write his psychological novels, or romans durs—books in which he displays a sympathetic awareness of the emotional and spiritual pain underlying the routines of daily life. Having written nearly two hundred books under his own name and become the best-selling author in the world, Simenon retired as a novelist in 1973, devoting himself instead to dictating several volumes of memoirs.
Joyce Carol Oates is Roger S. Berlind Professor of Humanities and the Arts at Princeton. Her most recent books are A Widow’s Story: A Memoir and the forthcoming The Corn Maiden: Novellas and Stories. (September 2011)
Marc Romano is a writer living in New York City. He has translated two other novels by Georges Simenon, both published by New York Review Books: Dirty Snow (with Louise Varèse) and Three Bedrooms in Manhattan (with Lawrence G. Blochman).
In the press
"Georges Simenon is a recent discovery for me—not the Maigret books, but what Simenon called his “romans durs,” such as Dirty Snow and Three Bedrooms in Manhattan— and hard they are indeed. The latest of these New York Review Books reissues, Tropic Moon (translated from the French by Marc Romano) is a dark masterpiece set among French colonials in heart-of-darkness Gabon in the early 1930s. Cruel, erotic, frightening and superb." — John Banville, The Los Angeles Times
"Simenon was immensely admired by both Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett…[His novels] compare favourably with the murky grey worlds of James M. Cain, Jim Thompson and Patricia Highsmith with their ambiguous world view of innocents and criminals caught in the whirlpools of fate and struggling to make sense of their existence…Three Bedrooms in Manhattan is one of his most erotic and emotionally charged stories." — Maxim Jakubowski, The Times (London)
"Three Bedrooms in Manhattan is about how we resist love, how we get dragged into it, spat out, dragged back in against our will….Blinking neon blankets the story in an atmosphere of general decay—in life and trust and the merest possibility of love….Simenon takes whatever slender threads he can find in his characters that hold them to life. He shows how relentlessly the mind tries to sabotage the heart." — Susan Salter Reynolds, The Los Angeles Times