Against all expectations Marcel Féron has made a “normal” life in a bucolic French suburb in the Ardennes. But on May 10, 1940, as Nazi tanks approach, this timid, happy man must abandon his home and confront the “Fate” that he has secretly awaited. Separated from his pregnant wife and young daughter in the chaos of flight, he joins a freight car of refugees hurtling southward ahead of the pursuing invaders. There, he meets Anna, a sad-looking, dark- haired girl, whose accent is “neither Belgian nor German,” and who “seemed foreign to everything around her.” As the mystery of Anna’s identity is gradually revealed, Marcel leaps from the heights of an exhilarating freedom to the depths of a terrifying responsibility—one that will lead him to a blood-chilling choice.
When it first appeared in English in 1964, British novelist and critic Brigid Brophy declared The Train to be “the novel his admirers had been expecting all along from Simenon.” Until The Train, she wrote, the dazzlingly prolific novelist had been “a master without a masterpiece.”
About the Author
Georges Simenon (1903 1989) began work as a reporter for a local newspaper at the age of sixteen, and at nineteen he moved to Paris to embark on a career as a novelist. He went on to write seventy-five Maigret novels and twenty-eight Maigret short stories.
Joris-Karl Huysmans (18481907) is recognized as one of the most challenging and innovative figures in European literature and acknowledged as principal architect of the fin-de-sicle imagination. He was a career civil servant who wrote ten novels, most notably <I>A Rebours</I> and <I>La-Bas</I>. <P> Robert Baldick translated many volumes from the French for Penguin Classics, including volumes by Diderot, Flaubert, and Verne, and wrote a biography of Huysmans. He died in 1972. <P> Patrick McGuinness is a fellow and tutor in French at St. Annes College, Oxford.
“He is the greatest of all . . . the truest novelist we have in literature.”
Praise for The Train
“There is no false note, not one word or sigh or smile which strikes me as anything but unavoidable. This is not a writer’s romancing story of a little man caught in the war; it is the unknown history of many little men in that vast war.”
—New York Times Book Review