Tropic Moon (New York Review Books Classics)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Newly translated for this edition.
A young Frenchman, Joseph Timar, travels to Gabon carrying a letter of introduction from an influential uncle. He wants work experience; he wants to see the world. But in the oppressive heat and glare of the equator, Timar doesn't know what to do with himself, and no one seems inclined to help except Adèle, the hotel owner's wife, who takes him to bed one day and rebuffs him the next, leaving him sick with desire. But then, in the course of a single night, Adèle's husband dies and a black servant is shot, and Timar is sure that Adèle is involved. He'll cover for the crime if she'll do what he wants. The fix is in. But Timar can't even begin to imagine how deep.
In Tropic Moon, Simenon, the master of the psychological novel, offers an incomparable picture of degeneracy and corruption in a colonial outpost.
He heard the boy declare, “All done, ma’am!” “Good. Get to bed.” She lit a candle, because the electric generator would soon cut off. Timar stood up, uncertain, and approached the counter. When he was almost there, Adèle headed for the door and the staircase, candle in hand. “Coming?” All he could do was follow. She climbed in front of him and he saw her naked legs, the dress that spread like a corolla. She stopped on the landing, and he stammered, “Which room do I …” “Your old one, of
Maybe it was him; the voice was the same. A few phrases came out very quickly, and they all sounded alike. Then he’d fall silent. Instead of the paddlers’ refrain, there was a burst of laughter from the assembly. Were they talking about Timar? For a moment he thought so, but a glance at the faces in the firelight convinced him that they weren’t talking about anything. He could have sworn that the man with the bad teeth was just speaking nonsense, talking for talking’s sake, that everyone was
it’s tomorrow that’ll settle the matter one way or the other. So once again I’m telling you that there are some of us here who aren’t going to allow …” He fell silent. Had he thought he’d said too much? Or was he horrified by the sight of Timar, his pale face with its feverish red patches, his shining eyes and blue lips? Those emaciated fingers trembling on the table. “It doesn’t do any good to speak ill of someone. Adèle knows what she’s doing.” The billiard balls were still clicking; the two
the little house on the rue Chef-de-Ville—the family doctor who would also say, with a smile on his face, “So, young man, how are we doing today?” And his mother and his sister and everyone—all worrying over him. And the doctor in the corridor, whispering as he left, “He needs to rest. It won’t last.” God! And they’d spoil him. They’d be sure to mention his cousin Blanche, from Cognac, who would materialize one Sunday in a new red dress! Fine! He’d marry her, damn it. Just to have some peace.
conviction, however. There were times like that—he was completely calm and collected, entirely self-possessed, and he saw things in the cold light of day. But he couldn’t! Not yet! Or then … Maybe, for example, he was capable of suddenly jumping overboard! And yet he knew that he never would. The ship’s bow gracefully split the gray-blue sea. You could sit in the shade in the terrace of the bar. A sailor was painting the inside of the air shafts red. Timar promised to be good. With Blanche and