March 9th 2020

It’s been a long time since I’ve written here. And that’s because I forgot about it. Anyway I’ve just finished reading “The Hand” by Georges Simenon. I started it at about 10 o’clock this morning – it’s now 4 o’clock. What was it that compelled me to read it so quickly? Probably the salacious nature of the story, the narrator’s craziness and the simple way Simenon tells the tale.
Also I am part way through “The Dig” by Cynan Jones. This one is compelling because the story is nasty at times, touching at others and told in a simple manner. Mind you, there also occasional poetic flourishes in the descriptions.
Both novels are gripping because they are far removed from my experience. Or are they? I have witnessed physical violence and, more importantly, the build up to it. Jones is very good at he build up to casual, inevitable brutality. Frighteningly good. There have been two moments in my reading so far when I thought I might stop reading because I didn’t want to read what I knew was coming. I’ve also imagined people thinking of me in unflattering ways and been quite wrong. Occasionally I have brooded on things to the extent that I have become confused, bewildered, depressed. Simenon captures those feelings in “The Hand.”
The question is “How have they done it?”

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