Read The President by Georges Simenon Daphne Woodward Online

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Restored to print for the first time in more than forty years, The President was hailed by the New York Times as a “tour de force”At 82, the former premier lives in alert and suspicious retirement—self exile—on the Normandy coast, writing his anxiously anticipated memoirs and receiving visits from statesman and biographers. In his library is the self-condemning, handwritteRestored to print for the first time in more than forty years, The President was hailed by the New York Times as a “tour de force”At 82, the former premier lives in alert and suspicious retirement—self exile—on the Normandy coast, writing his anxiously anticipated memoirs and receiving visits from statesman and biographers. In his library is the self-condemning, handwritten confession of the premier’s former attaché, Chalamont, hidden between the pages of a sumptuously produced work of privately printed pornography—a confession that the premier himself had dictated and forced Chalamont to sign. Now the long-thwarted Chalamont has been summoned to form a new coalition in the wake of the government’s collapse. The premier alone possesses the secret of Chalamont’s guilt, of his true character—and has publicly vowed: “He’ll never be Premier as long as I’m alive... Nor when I’m dead, either.” Inspired by French Premier Georges Clemenceau, The President is a masterpiece of psychological suspense and a probing account of the decline of power....

Title : The President
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781935554622
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 152 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The President Reviews

  • Manny
    2019-04-25 00:37

    The old reviewer closes the book. Once, he would automatically have written something; now it always seems like too much trouble. All the same, this novel has stirred him into an unaccustomed state of activity. He reaches his hand towards the laptop, but the switch isn't where he expects it. He fumbles around. Of course, it's on the left. He was thinking of the old machine. How long ago was that? He shrugs, turns it on, opens the editor - he stubbornly insists on using Emacs - and increases the font size. Now he has to find something to say. He starts typing. His fingers still know where all the keys are.An unusually powerful and compelling piece of work, which has undeservedly beenHe stops in mid-sentence. No, this will never do. It sounds like a blurb. He erases it.Maybe something about the author? He had always meant to write about Simenon, but the occasion had never presented itself. Yes, that was better.It is hard to say why Simenon is not taken more seriously. His novels timelessly examine the human condition, and his spare, elegant style can easily be compared withWith who? Hemingway? No, too obvious. Inaccurate as well. That Swedish author perhaps, what was he called?He can't remember. It's on the tip of his tongue, but the name won't materialize. Anyway, this is no good either. He erases it all and starts again."Do you need anything dear? Now remember, you mustn't overtire yourself." That would be the nurse. He'd appreciated the last one, the way she would lean over him and adjust his covers. This one was too controlling, too motherly."I'm fine," he says. He knows she will come in soon, and then he'll have to close the laptop. Before he quite realizes what's happened, his fingers are typing. He notices with mild interest that they have hit the caps lock.THIS IS A VERY GOOD BOOK ABOUT DEATHWas that it? He had felt he was going to write more, but he seems to have finished. All the same, he thinks, it's not so bad. I have written better reviews, but I have written many worse ones. It captures the essential facts.He sees that one of his friends has already added a vote and a comment. Not one of the old friends of course, they are all gone, but a new one he quite likes.Good stuff! I thought you'd stopped posting.He has to reply,not yet :)and then he leans back and smiles. Soon, he thinks to himself, quite soon. I am almost ready.

  • Richard Derus
    2019-04-22 22:35

    Rating: 3.8* of fiveThe Publisher Says: Restored to print for the first time in more than forty years, The President was hailed by the New York Times as a “tour de force.”At 82, the former premier lives in alert and suspicious retirement—self exile—on the Normandy coast, writing his anxiously anticipated memoirs and receiving visits from statesman and biographers. In his library is the self-condemning, handwritten confession of the premier’s former attaché, Chalamont, hidden between the pages of a sumptuously produced work of privately printed pornography—a confession that the premier himself had dictated and forced Chalamont to sign. Now the long-thwarted Chalamont has been summoned to form a new coalition in the wake of the government’s collapse. The premier alone possesses the secret of Chalamont’s guilt, of his true character—and has publicly vowed: “He’ll never be Premier as long as I’m alive... Nor when I’m dead, either.” Inspired by French Premier Georges Clemenceau, The President is a masterpiece of psychological suspense and a probing account of the decline of power.My Review: I got a CARE package from one of my old pals from Texas, filled to the brim with Simenon works...but not the Maigret stories, to my relief (read 'em all) and delight (I've never read any of the non-Maigret books)! The President is a delicate and careful autopsy of a once-powerful man's reluctant and relieved laying down his armaments. His life always consisted of public service, unmarried and childless and grasping for the levers of power to make his isolation into welcome solitude.Simenon's Maigret novels are, as murder mysteries must be, formulaic. Simenon's gift came from creating a rich and satisfying story from these commonly available materials. It's a bit like watching Meryl Streep in a movie: She IS the role, she can't be more than glancingly perceived as the actress who starred in any other movie. Chameleons have that talent...so do cuttlefish...yet to find the gift of remodeling one's self in our smelly, sweaty human selves amazes and delights us every time.This 152-page tale is a welcome surprise in this era of bloated, dull series books that could and should have been short stories. In my view, the less an author says, the more s/he has to focus and deliver a high-quality experience. Simenon wrote what was necessary to illuminate the long career of the eponymous president and place it in an historical setting. The impact of the actions taken by the president become, by design but still of necessity, quiet bombshells...silent even in their death throes.This is a book to savor, to sip and ponder the complex flavors mixed in exacting proportions. A simple story, made well, translated carefully, and presented without hype. It is a treat in a literary landscape as pillowy-soft and cloyingly sweet as today's is simply to be told that great hearts still beat faster in pursuit of desired items and outcomes. And they remain great hearts, giving their all and making no excuses.

  • KOMET
    2019-05-12 20:39

    Simenon has crafted a thoughtful, interesting short novel about a former French Premier, who, in his prime, had been a master political operator and adroit manipulator of people. Now, in his early 80s, retired from politics, quasi infirm, and living on a small estate in Normandy with a small staff attentive to his needs and whims, he reflects upon his life and career. He comes to realize that for all his secretive, circumspect ways, he is being spied upon. But by whom? What's more: his former protege is now poised to assume a position of supreme influence in forming a new government in Paris. The old man, remembering his former protege's treachery, possesses a damnable piece of evidence that could destroy his political career. Will he float this disclosure or not? This is a gripping story showing the vagaries of the mind and heart of people consumed with the acquisition and use of political power. It is also a subtle, psychological study of the first degree loosely based on the life of Georges Clemenceau, former Premier of France (1917-1920).

  • Jennifer
    2019-05-13 22:41

    Every once in a while, I fall in love with a particular publisher. The first time I remember it happening was with Soft Skull Press. Then, the New York Review Books. There have been other, more fleeting crushes, of course, but when I'm fully in love with a publisher, I haunt their website, constructing long wishlists of titles. I consider how many books I'd have to buy at once to get the wholesale discount. In bookstores, I look for a certain spine dimension, color scheme, logo. Right now, I am in love with Melville House Publishing -- specifically, the Neversink collection. So when I was at the library, but NOT to check out books, as I already had one overdue and was in the middle of three more, and I turned around to see the familiar graphics of a Neversink cover design on the New Titles shelf, I knew I was doomed.Of course I took it home with me.I did not give myself permission to start reading it until I finished at least one of the books I was reading. Still, it was like a ticking time bomb sitting on my shelf. I have let too many library books go overdue lately. I finished 400 Years of the Telescope, and immediately replaced it (in its place in my purse) with The President. Still, chances to read it kept slipping by for one reason or another until a Friday, I finally got to dip into it during a short lunch at Zoup!I read the rest of the book on Saturday.I don't even know when was the last time that I got to sit down and read a whole book in one day, but it's something I've been missing. Especially over the holidays, as that was exactly the sort of thing I would do when I was young and had no kids. It was hard, at times, due to my lack of practice, to fully devote myself to the book. Through no fault of The President, which I loved, I would read a few pages and my mind would wander. One page -- "Wait, should I go check the laundry?" Three pages -- "I wonder if there are any new pins on Pinterest?" Two pages -- "Oh! Now I need to make a new cup of tea!" And so on.I did get better at shutting out these wandering thoughts as the day wore on and this book moved closer to its conclusion. I was supremely satisfied when I reached the end, yet I find I am struggling to articulate the reasons why. Every attempt at summary seems a gross over-simplification to my mind. Though I do feel compelled to list some of the themes it touches on -- retirement, death, power, ambition, reckoning...Suffice it to say, it is a tragedy that this book was out of print for 40 years, and I cheer Neversink for bringing it back. This book is wonderful. I plan to read it again, perhaps many times, later in life.

  • Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
    2019-05-15 16:33

    A retired statesman, once one of the handful of most influential people in his country and the world, is set off on a trail of reminiscence and introspection when he hears of a former protege being approached to head the government. At the end of a long mental journey he arrives at an understanding of where he is in life - at the very end - and what all of his big victories and small defeats add up to in the face of that fact. Unsentimental and laconic, like all of Simenon's fiction, this is a striking portrait of the final epiphany we can hope for if we reach old age.

  • Jacob
    2019-05-05 18:56

    1 Simenon down, 500-ish more to go.

  • Jim Coughenour
    2019-05-03 21:59

    A mildly interesting book, unlike the usual Simenon (whether Maigret or roman dur), apparently based on Georges Clemenceau, who was France's Prime Minister in the closing years of World War I. The President is a study in stasis, an aging politician living alone at the edge of the sea attended only by his servants, austere, isolated, contemptuous, and still somewhat enchanted by his own myth – which of course crumbles as the book very deliberately unfolds. As usual I enjoy Simenon's style most, the atmosphere he creates around his characters and the way he imagines the dry thoughts of a Great Man who knows he's at the end of his life. All the drama is in the mood, not the plot or the politics.

  • Paul
    2019-04-19 23:53

    Read it in English - a novelette about fame,ignominy and dying - pas mal!

  • Jan
    2019-05-12 00:38

    I read this book after Manny's review. made me curious. He captures the feel and the point of the book perfectly. There is great peace at the end of this book. I can only hope that old age brings insight, acceptance, and forgiveness like this for me.

  • Alzy
    2019-05-13 18:43

    I really enjoyed this insight into the life of a statesman. Also, the description of old age was quite moving - I think it gave me better understanding of what my grandmother is going through. But I must point out that although the translation is very good, the lack of proofreading is evident.

  • Hugh Laybourn
    2019-05-16 00:00

    fascinating study of the last times of a powerful leader

  • Michel Ball
    2019-05-04 17:37

    slow - Somewhat annoying account about a formerly important politician - his everyday life among his servants - his memories - his deceptions - his descent to his final hour

  • L Fleisig
    2019-05-03 23:58

    In his heyday the former Premier of France bestrode France and Europe like a colossus. A larger than-life figure he was at once feared, respected, admired, and often hated. It seemed that whenever the French Republic had a crisis, be it monetary, labor, social strife, or war the President of France would call on him to save the republic one more time. Now, at age 82 he is sick and living in relative seclusion in a house off the Normandy coast. He is watched over by a personal secretary, a cook, physician and chauffer. His days are spent in isolation and he spends much of his waking hours quietly contemplating his life. His stillness is that of the aging lion. He sits in his study and barely moves, as if conserving what little energy and time he has left. As the story opens France is facing yet another crisis. The government has fallen and the President is seeking desperately to find a Premier to step in to save France one more time. As the country's eyes turn to the most likely prospect, Chalmont, the retired Premier asks himself whether he should go public with the damaging information that he has about the man who was once his most trusted assistant.Loosely based on the latter years of Georges Clemenceau ("Le Tigre") George Simenon's "The President" is one more reason why I will pick up and read a book by Simenon anywhere I can find it. Perhaps best known for his Inspector Maigret stories such as The Hotel Majestic (Penguin Mysteries), I think his finest work can be found in what he called his "romans durs" or hard stories such as The Man Who Watched Trains Go By (New York Review Books Classics). These were not police procedurals but, rather, stories that looked at the dark side of our nature. The Simenons I have read have all been fine examples of the art of writing and "The President" is no exception. Simenon takes the reader into the mind of this aging leader as he contemplates the world around him, from the political crisis to the randy behavior of his young kitchen girl, you get lost in his own thoughts and musings. The premiere's decision as to whether to pull the rug from under Chalmont's pending ascension to power is handled with skill.If you already know and admire Simenon this book should be added to you collection. If you have not read Simenon yet this is as good a place to start as any. Highly recommended. L. Fleisig

  • Frank
    2019-04-24 20:40

    This isn't the edition I read, but apparently this novella is out of print in English, unless it is combined in some other way. The edition I read was combined with another novella, The Train (about which more separately). The titular Premier is, at 82, long retired from the French government, living a rather curmudgeonly life on the coast of Normandy, and provided for by a staff (driver/valet, secretary, cook, nurse, security men and even physicians) apparently still on the government payroll. It is a constricted life, by age and physical ability, but also by the sense that his staff keep their bosses informed of his doings, for whatever political benefits or liabilities might accrue to the coalition in power. And indeed the Premier is still very interested by the goings-on in Paris.In fact, he has retained some documents which could prove embarrassing to various people, most significantly his one-time protegé who is now on the cusp of being asked to form a government as the nation "is in crisis". The President of the Republic has called our no-longer younger minister to make the request, and is promised an answer the following morning. It was on the news, the aged Premier heard; the question is: will the younger man come and visit the Premier asking for advice (or forgiveness)? A terrible storm rages in Normandy, which has cut off power and telephone; To stay in touch, the driver has rigged up the car radio with speakers inside the kitchen (this written in 1957). Will he come?Morning dawns, and there has been no visit. Power is restored to the house, but the Premier soon learns that his own power over the affairs of the nation are truly a thing of the past. With this realization comes a certain peace. With the help of his secretary, he spends the morning disposing of the supposedly incriminating documents he has kept, learning that the government has known about them all along.

  • AdamMcPhee
    2019-05-07 20:41

    “Man is the only animal who finds it necessary to decorate the corpses of his victims in order to whet his appetite. Look at those neat rounds of truffle slipped under the skin of the capons to make a symmetrical pattern, that cooked pheasant with his beak and tail so artistically put back in place. . . . ”Pretty good book about a statesman dying slow.(view spoiler)[Names were of no importance to him, so he had not altered the one the property went by when he bought it.The local people had told him that the word “ébergues” referred to portions of the codfish prepared for use as bait, and as Fécamp was a codfishers’ port and fishing was the mainstay of the whole coast, he had been satisfied with that explanation. Probably the skipper of a fishing smack or the owner of a small fleet had lived in the house at one time?But one day when Emile was tearing away the ivy that had crept over the parapet of an old well, he had brought to light an inscription, roughly cut in the stone:Les Ebernes1701The Premier had happened to mention this to the schoolmaster, who was also Secretary of the District Council and sometimes came to borrow books from him. The schoolmaster had had the curiosity to look up the old land-survey maps, and had found the property marked on them by the same name as that on the well.However, nobody could tell him what “ébernes” were, until at last he found the explanation in the big Littré dictionary:“Eberner: to wipe excrement off a child.“Eberneuses: women who wipe excrement off children.”What kind of women had once lived in the house and been given the nickname that had stuck to the place afterwards? And what later and more prudish occupant had given that cunning twist to the spelling of the name? (hide spoiler)]

  • Steven
    2019-05-18 17:33

    This is a remarkable, intriguing short novel about a former French Premier, who, in his prime, had been a master political operator and adroit manipulator of people. Now, at the age of 82 and completely removed from politics, he lives on a small estate in Normandy. The entire book is really set in this man's head; he ruminates upon his past life and his career. What is most disturbing to him is that a former protégé is about to assume a position of great importance forming a new government. The Premier has some damning information in his possession that could sabotage the younger man's plans altogether. He has a long internal debate as to whether he should publicize this material or keep it private. In an extraordinary, extended sequence toward the end of the book, the Premier mentally floats between this world and the next, and realizes that the acquisition and use of political power are rather trivial matters in the overall schemes of the cosmos. He can then face his own mortality with equanimity and poise. One of the more fascinating late books by Georges Simenon that I have read.

  • Eric
    2019-05-10 23:33

    Elegantly structured, Mr. Simenon uses a 24 hour period to paint a lifetime. The President is an enjoyable read, and fans of Mr. Simenon's roman durs, published by NYRB Classics, will recognize the power of Mr. Simenon's psychological portraits but may miss the raw underbelly exposed in Dirty Snow, et al. This is no "when bad things happen to bad people" romp. However, all of Mr. Simenon's literary powers are on display here, from his ability to tantalize by slowly unfolding a scandal to a surprisingly emotional ending.

  • Downward
    2019-05-13 00:48

    a book about growing old and the loneliness of living a public life, when the greatest downfall is when the public stopsmcaring about you. the "you" in this case is the french premiere, who is in his twilight days and is feeling sustained only by the closeness of his enemies, since they're the only ones whose feelings about him are strong enough to care. there are plenty of comparisons made eqsily available in american politics, but richard nixon is the first to come to mind. a slow and thoughtful piece by simenon, usually a writer of mysteries... also, unfortunately, a bit of a bore.

  • Martin Spellman
    2019-04-29 20:37

    One to read several times because there is a lot of symbolism here behind Simenon's deceptively simple style. A retired statesman keeps lots of secrets hidden in his library and more still in his head. Will he 'spill the beans' and let the world know? Who is it that is prying to find out what he knows? A national crisis over forming a government may hook him in one last time. But the electricity is off and then the telephone also. Cutting him off from the world? But he still has his car radio to keep him informed. This could make a superb film. One of the best of Simenon's many.

  • David
    2019-05-05 16:58

    The Premier; PenguinA slow paced story that imperceptibly draws you in to the life and thoughts of a man near the end of his life. Having scaled the heights of a political career, apparently based on Clemenceau, he looks back on his life with objectivity while clinging to the vestiges of power. As the story develops this objectivity becomes more coldness and a darker side of humanity. An apparently simple story, that belies its complexity and compelling nature.

  • Jay McNair
    2019-05-15 17:52

    My second Simenon novel, and while I happened to like The Train more (much more), this was good enough to convince me to keep reading Simenon. He apparently wrote hundreds of books. I find that hard to believe, because he writes so well.

  • !Tæmbuŝu
    2019-04-26 22:41

    ePagineReviewed by The Guardian (11 Mar 2012)

  • Loscrittorucolo
    2019-05-03 17:01

    Affascinante per i rimandi autobiografici e le pennellate che affrescano il personaggio così efficacemente. Una storia in cui succede poco ma si svela un mondo, un tempo potente e ampio, che la vecchiaia ha reso angusto.

  • John Gilchrist
    2019-05-13 16:35

    good psych stufy if dwinfling power

  • Zement
    2019-05-10 17:37

    Niet slecht, maar had er op basis van de revivalhype meer van verwacht. Interessant portret maar niet verrassend, stilistisch strak, soms wat te mager naar mijn smaak.

  • Heather Clitheroe
    2019-04-28 17:54

    I thought it was a beautiful book: slow and ponderous, yes, but meant to be. The story of an old man should never be hurried or exaggerated.

  • Margreeth Wallast
    2019-05-03 19:36

    Een onverwachte Simenon. Het verhaal wordt breed uitgemeten en verloopt traag. In plaats van een plot een verhaal met een moraal

  • Elena
    2019-04-23 19:51

    Fun to read in holiday or a day off - quick read. The book has a lot of introspection, keeps you in suspense.

  • Sara
    2019-05-17 19:45

    An interesting character, but I found the book somewhat tedious to read. Not based on a historical person.