The Manfredjensenden Report

harveyHarvey Manfredjensenden, enjoying the free time that comes with having a competent marketing gal, has turned to Simenon to pass the time. He reminds me today never to write the truth. The audience won’t accept the truth. It’s way too strange; stranger, they say, than fiction.

Harvey says, Simenon was sort of a “method writer” — he started with a character, he thought of what sort of event would change that character’s life, and then he immersed himself in his character and started writing without any idea where he’d finish. Sometimes this would lead him to brilliant twists and sometimes it led him to directionless plodding. The effect was realistic — his characters appear more human as they sit around, genuinely puzzled and unsure what to do next — without being real — his novels lack much of the exposition, expertise, asides, narration, details and observations that most novelists use to bring their novels to life. This also kept the novels slim. Even when Simenon misses, you haven’t invested much time. Slim volumes assure that books will seldom suffer the flaw of covers that are too far apart. Thank you Mr. M.

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