Pedigree is Georges Simenon's longest and most unusual novel, one that is increasingly seen as lying at the heart of his outsize achievement as a chronicler of modern self and society. In the early 1940s, Simenon began work on a memoir of his Belgian childhood. He showed the initial pages to Andre Gide, who urged him turn them into a novel. The result was, Simenon later remarked, a book in which everything is true but nothing is accurate. It is in any case a book in which the sights, sounds, and smells, the sensory overload and relentless insistence of the city, the interplay of its public and private spaces, are everywhere compellingly present, an epic of life in all its messy unfinished intensity and density, a coming-of-age story that is also about the coming-to-be of the modern world. Spanning the years from the beginning of the century, with its anarchist threats, to the end of the First World War in 1918, Pedigree is the story of a boy growing into a young man and making his way in a city of gaslights, trams, rain, squalor, and secret delight.
Publisher: The New York Review of Books, Inc