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The President

Translated by Daphne Woodward

Part of The Neversink Library

At 82, the former premier lives in alert and suspicious retirement— self exile—on the Normandy coast, writing his anxiously anticipated memoirs and receiving visits from statesman and biographers. In his library is the self-condemning, handwritten confession of the premier’s former attaché, Chalamont, hidden between the pages of a sumptuously produced work of privately printed pornography—a confession that the premier himself had dictated and forced Chalamont to sign. Now the long-thwarted Chalamont has been summoned to form a new coalition in the wake of the government’s collapse. The premier alone possesses the secret of Chalamont’s guilt, of his true character—and has publicly vowed: “He’ll never be Premier as long as I’m alive . . . Nor when I’m dead, either.”

Inspired by French Premier Georges Clemenceau, The President is a masterpiece of psychological suspense and a probing account of the decline of power.

Called the world’s “most prolific” novelist by Life magazine (1958), and several times a candidate for the Nobel Prize, GEORGES SIMENON published more than four-hundred novels, seventy-five of them featuring his celebrated detective, Commissaire Maigret.

While its attention to economic crisis, civil unrest and a precarious coalition government might explain the novel’s resurfacing after 40 years of neglect, Simenon’s eye for detail, for the tragicomedy of life’s trivialities, provides a refreshing shift of focus. —The Observer

“It is impossible not to admire the accuracy, the unfailing psychological insight, the unfaltering eye for the small but convincing human details that he brings to his stories of men obsessed.” —Life Magazine

“Since most Simenon characters are driven and obsessive, their actions are outside the constraints of ordinary life and, as such, are of striking ethical and psychological interest. . . Simenon has often been compared to Dostoyevsky. . .” —New York Times

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