My Book Notes: Maigret’s Christmas (1951) by Georges Simenon (Trans: Jean Steward)


Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

A short story included in Maigret’s Christmas (Harvest/Harcourt, 2003). Format: Paperback. 410 pages. Translated from the French by Jean Stewart, 1976. Original title Un Nöel de Maigret published by Presses de la Cité, in 1951. ISBN: 978-015-602853-0. Maigret’s Christmas was written on the 20th of May 1950 and was the last work that Simenon wrote whilst living at Carmel-by-the-Sea in California. It is also the twenty-eighth and the last one of Maigret short stories, and it is the longer short story in the canon. Maigret’s Christmas aka The Girl Who Believed in Santa Claus was published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine (US edition), Vol. 23, N° 122, in January 1954, translated by Lawrence G. Blochman, however this version is slightly abridged and freer in translation compared to Simenon’s original, though this text was reprinted a number of times by various publishers. This 1976 translation by Jean Stewart follows Simenon’s French text closely without any abridging or additions. The original title is also a collection of short stories by Georges Simenon published by Presses de la Cité, in 1951.The said collection is made up of three tales, recently published in English by Penguin in 2017, translated by David Coward: A Maigret Christmas, Seven Small Crosses in a Notebook and The Little Restaurant near Place de Ternes, originally written between 1947 and 1950. The latter two short stories do not involve Maigret, but they are all linked by the fact they take place in Paris, during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

descargaSynopsis: The story unfolds in Paris where we find Commissaire Maigret comfortably installed in the tranquillity of his home one Christmas Day. Unexpectedly, he receives the visit of a couple of ladies who live in an apartment building right opposite his place on Boulevard Richard-Lenoir. One has an adopted daughter, her husband’s niece, whom they take care of since her mother’s death. The girl is presently bedridden with a broken leg, and she claims she received the visit of a man disguised as Santa Claus, the previous night. This man, who she believed was Santa Claus himself, gave her a doll, which somehow proves she is not lying. Before leaving, the man in question, with the excuse of visiting the house downstairs to leave his presents, raised the planks of the floor, as if he was looking for something. Intrigued, Commissaire Maigret decides to go and question the little girl.

My take: The odd behaviour of the little girl’s adoptive mother arouses Maigret’s suspicions who decides to investigate her past. The investigation is carried out mainly from Maigret’s home, serving Simenon to show more closely the familiar environment of Maigret and his wife, on such a meaningful date. This will also allow Simenon to evoke the joy and nostalgia usually associated with Christmas time. The absence of our loved ones is perhaps more evident than ever in those days. To which we can add the fact that Maigret and his wife are childless, a fact that becomes more important in these festivities. All this without overlooking the role a little girl is playing in the story. In short, a short story that turns out to be both fascinating and really evocative.

My Rating: A (I loved it)

About the Autor: Georges Simenon was one of the most prolific writers of the twentieth century, capable of writing 60 to 80 pages per day. His oeuvre includes nearly 200 novels, over 150 novellas, several autobiographical works, numerous articles, and scores of pulp novels written under more than two dozen pseudonyms. Altogether, about 550 million copies of his works have been printed. He is best known, however, for his 75 novels and 28 short stories featuring Commissaire Maigret published between 1931 and 1972.

Un Noël de Maigret

Maigret of the Month: December, 2006

La Agitada Navidad de Maigret, de Georges Simenon

Sinopsis: La historia se desarrolla en París, donde encontramos al comisario Maigret cómodamente instalado en la tranquilidad de su hogar un día de Navidad. Inesperadamente, recibe la visita de un par de mujeres que viven en un edificio de apartamentos justo enfrente de su casa en el Boulevard Richard-Lenoir. Una tiene una hija adoptiva, sobrina de su marido, a quien cuidan desde la muerte de su madre. La niña está actualmente postrada en la cama con una pierna rota, y dice que recibió la visita de un hombre disfrazado de Papá Noel, la noche anterior. Este hombre, que ella creía que era el mismo Santa Claus, le regaló una muñeca, lo que de alguna manera demuestra que no está mintiendo. Antes de irse, el hombre en cuestión, con la excusa de visitar la casa de abajo para dejar sus regalos, levantó las lamas del suelo, como si estuviera buscando algo. Intrigado, el comisario Maigret decide ir a interrogar a la niña.

Mi opinión: El comportamiento extraño de la madre adoptiva de la niña despierta las sospechas de Maigret que decide investigar su pasado. La investigación se lleva a cabo principalmente desde la casa de Maigret, sirviendo a Simenon para mostrar más de cerca el ambiente familiar de Maigret y su esposa, en una fecha tan significativa. Esto también le permitirá a Simenon evocar la alegría y la nostalgia generalmente asociadas con la época navideña. La ausencia de nuestros seres queridos es quizás más evidente que nunca en esos días. A lo que podemos agregar el hecho de que Maigret y su esposa no tienen hijos, un hecho que se vuelve más importante en estas festividades. Todo esto sin pasar por alto el papel que juega una niña pequeña en la historia. En resumen, una historia corta que resulta fascinante y realmente evocadora.

Mi valoración: A (Me encantó)

Sobre el autor: Georges Simenon (Lieja, Bélgica, 1903 – Lausana, Suiza, 1989) escribió ciento noventa y una novelas con su nombre, y un número impreciso de novelas y relatos publicados con seudónimo, además de libros de memorias y textos dictados. El comisario Maigret es el protagonista de setenta y cinco de estas novelas y veintiocho relatos, publicados entre 1931 y 1972. Célebre en el mundo entero, reconocido ya como un maestro, hoy nadie duda de que sea uno de los mejores escritores del siglo XX.

2 thoughts on “My Book Notes: Maigret’s Christmas (1951) by Georges Simenon (Trans: Jean Steward)

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