I finished another ‘roman dur’ by Simenon, L’Enterrement de Monsieur Bouvet, one might say a rather unremarkable novel were it not for the fact that it makes one realize that it used to be possible to lead a double life, to disappear many times in one’s life and start all over again elsewhere without leaving a trace. And were it not of course that this is a Simenon ‘roman dur’ and this is the only ‘genre’ I currently enjoy, and have for a year or three.
L’Univers de Simenon, sous la direction de Maurice Piron avec la collaboration de Michel Lemoine
The Move is both a flawed novel and at the same time one of his more interesting ones due to its near total plotlessness and focus on psychological detail.
Its sub-theme is a criticism of the anonymity of modern high rise, the lack of social control, a side effect of living in the banlieue, in the same vein as Jacques Tati’s films Mon oncle (1958) and Playtime (1967).
Its protagonist is an unwilling eavesdropper.
Another of its themes is an exploration of dark sexuality, a recurring motif with Simenon, such as in Un nouveau dans la ville (1950).
Regarding the obfuscation in this book, Robert Harbison says in The Built, the Unbuilt, and the Unbuildable (1993):
“Recently the idea has infiltrated academic consciousness that the eighteenth-century crank Lequeu, one of the world’s fringiest paper architects, is really Marcel Duchamp inserting himself Trojan-horse-like into the musty tomes of the Bibliotheque Nationale, whiling away countless hours creating a large hollow space in which a few hundred pseudo-eighteenth-century beings can roost.”