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Act of Passion (New York Review Books Classics)by Georges Simenon
Synopses & Reviews
For forty years Charles Alavoine sleepwalks through his life. Obedient to his domineering mother's wishes, he trains as a doctor, takes a plain unassuming wife, opens a medical practice in a quiet country town, and settles into an existence of impeccable bourgeois conformity. After his first wife dies in labor, he remarries; children arrive; he becomes a family man and a cornerstone of the community. And yet at unguarded moments Charles is haunted by a sense of emptiness and futility, by the suspicion that real life is elsewhere. Looking for answers in his past, he spends more and more time recalling his depressive, suicidal father, and a youthful rendezvous with a prostitute who for a few hours gave him “the sensation of infinity.”
Then, one night at a provincial railway station, laden with Christmas presents for his wife and children, he encounters Martine, an enigmatic young woman helplessly adrift in the world. Their ensuing liaison precipitates a spiritual awakening in Alavoine-and sets the stage for his tragic disintegration. Like Camus's The Fall, Georges Simenon's thriller is at once a devastating personal confession and an indictment of modern society's empty and deadening moral codes.
For forty years Charles Alavoine has sleepwalked through his life. Growing up as a good boy in the grip of a domineering mother, he trains as a doctor, marries, opens a medical practice in a quiet country town, and settles into an existence of impeccable bourgeois conformity. And yet at unguarded moments this model family man is haunted by a sense of emptiness and futility.
Then, one night, laden with Christmas presents, he meets Martine. It is time for the sleeper to awake.
About the Author
Georges Simenon (1903-1989) is the author of Dirty Snow, The Engagement, The Man Who Watched Trains Go By, Monsieur Monde Vanishes, Pedigree, Red Lights, The Strangers in the House, Three Bedrooms in Manhattan, Tropic Moon, and The Widow (all available from NYRB Classics).
Louise Varèse (1891-1989) was an American biographer and translator, and was married to composer Edgard Varese.
Roger Ebert is the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic of the Chicago Sun-Times. He has also been the cohost of many successful national television programs. A recipient of the 2005 Syndication Personality Lifetime Achievement Award, Roger resides in Chicago, Ill.
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