“Sitting shocked on the grass nearby, he stared at his hands ‘with unbelieving terror… The skin hung from them like long icicles. The fingers were curled and pointed, like the claws of a great wild bird–distorted, pointed at the ends like talons, ghostly thin. What would I do now? What use would be these paralyzed talons to me for the rest of my life?'”
– Max Hastings, “Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945”
This melody is constantly threading through my head. It’s unshakable. One of the greatest songs ever recorded.
Here’s something I wrote a while back about Georges Simenon. Every time I crack open Monsieur Monde Vanishes or The Widow, I’m reminded again what an amazing writer he is. He has that beautiful, spare quality of Hemingway but taken in the darker, gothic direction I prefer. His dialogue is snap-tight, and while the prose can occasionally steer into flat territory, he nails a sentence every few pages that reminds me why I read in the first place.
“I once asked Margot if she thought I was ugly. She said that I was cute and had nice eyes. A little vague, don’t you think?”
– Anne Frank, “The Diary of a Young Girl
“He was dreadfully tired. Not only because of the past, or the present, but because of all the complications he could foresee; he was already growing sentimental over the days he had just lived.”
– Georges Simenon, “The Widow”