In July, the SNFCC Book Club will be discussing a representative piece of noir fiction by the master of the genre, Georges Simenon: the novel Liberty Bar.
On Monday, July 25, Book Club facilitator Krystalli Glyniadaki will meet with book lovers at the Mediterranean Garden, to share experiences, emotions and ideas, as well as to exchange views, based on the book of the month.
A few words about the book for July:
In April 1932, Georges Simenon moved to the west coast of France and, while gazing over the Atlantic, wrote his 17th novel starring detective Maigret. That novel was Liberty Bar, which is set on another coastal area, the French Riviera, from Antibes to Cannes.
The novel begins with Maigret arriving at Antibes from Paris by train, after having been instructed to cautiously handle the murder of a former French intelligence officer who goes by the name William Brown. Maigret feels out of place in the sunbathed French Riviera, among people enjoying the bright sunlight, the sea and the air of being on holiday, coupled with the luxury of wealth, the villas and the yachts.
Although officially enjoying the assistance of the local police, Maigret prefers to wander about the city on his own, attempting to understand how William Brown’s mind worked. We follow him along paths that tourists still walk today, book in hand, trying to identify decisive landmarks connecting the book to the true geography of the region. Gradually the detective discovers that the victim was a man of stark contrasts: of Australian descent, he enjoyed the luxuries of the French Riviera, but also took regular trips to Cannes, for some unknown reason. Retracing his steps there, Maigret discovers Liberty Bar, a small back-street bar off the beach of Cannes, at a time when there were still shanty towns of the poor in the city. There he will meet an entire world of peculiar characters who knew the victim and will make the detective feel very uneasy in that city and with his case, as if he is losing the ground under his feet. Bewildered by the multitude of people, the intense sunlight and the way in which he has handled the clues and persons involved, Maigret feels lost in an unknown world, far away from the safety of Paris. Of course, in the end he will solve the case—we’d expect nothing less of Maigret. But in the meantime, Simenon will have perfected his way of writing “psychological novels” with a remarkable atmosphere and an intense emotional undertone, which explains why his books following Liberty Bar will not feature detective Maigret.
Georges Simenon, a Belgian writer born in Liege in 1903, is one of the most famous and best-selling European writers of the 20th century. He wrote some 500 novels, 75 of which star the legendary detective Maigret, who solves murder mysteries based not so much on inductive and rational thinking, but rather on his gut feeling, after he has delved deeply into the emotional world of the killer. Simenon’s books have been translated into more than 50 languages, making him the most translated French-language writer of the 20th century. He is said to have been able to write 60–80 pages per day and produce a novel within 33 hours. His writing has influenced dozens of famous crime authors, from P. D. James to Dror Mishani.
A few words about the facilitator:
Krystalli Glyniadaki was born in Athens in 1979. She studied Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, and Political Theory in London, and later Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. She has published three collections of poetry in Greek (all published by Polis), the last of which—Τhe Return of the Dead—received the Greek National Literature Award for Poetry in 2018. She has been an officially invited author to the international Istanbul Book Fair and International Izmir Literature Festival; her poems have been translated into English, Turkish, German, Slovenian and Italian; and her first English-language collection of poetry is to be released in the United Kingdom soon. She works as a translator, mostly of Norwegian literature, and as a book editor, and writes pieces for Norwegian online media. Her latest love is online interactive historical documentaries (i-doc), on which she has just finished her dissertation at Bournemouth University.
Monday 25/7 | 19.00-21.00
For adults | Up to 30 participants
Free participation via online pre-registration
Pre-registration starts on Friday 01/07, at 12.00
Coordinator: Krystalli Glyniadaki
To participate in the Reading Club, it is necessary for those who hold a position to have read the book of the month.
Georges Simenon’s Liberty Bar is available in Greek from Agra Publications.
Due to public health measures, there may be changes regarding either the staging of the event, or the maximum number of participants.
As part of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center's collaboration with the National Library of Greece, the book for the Reading Club has been chosen by NLG staff members.