What does it take to be an Inspector in 1950s Paris? Georges Simenon answers in his novels.

33542757To start this review, I have to say that I, personally, enjoy reading detectives at summer. The thing is, I feel that vacation read requires to be both thrilling and not emotionally heavy. And “Maigret And The Tall Woman” turned out to be just the book of that kind – so I’m very thankful to Penguin Books for sending it to me.

Actually, I was excited to read it as I’ve already been introduced to a few of Maigret detectives and all of them appeared to be full of plot twists and aperitif. And clearly, “Maigret And The Tall Woman” is no exception.

Putting the plot summary short: Maigret is visited by a tall woman he had arrested decades ago. She reports that her husband – a professional safecracker – is hiding, frightened, after coming across a murdered body of middle-aged woman during another break-in. She gives Maigret the address and  insists on investigation. Maigret calls to Brasserie Dauphine and asks for two Pernods to be delivered to his office. – Yes I have to add that upon finishing this detective you’ll be well aware of, what feels like, all the brasseries offering alcohol drinks in 1950s Paris.- Then he sets off to the house ,where , presumably, a murder has been comitted. However, to Maigret’s surprise, he finds that no murder has been reported although something about the atmosphere in the house gets him suspicious so in order to think carefully about what the case may be he decides to visit a brasserie across the street and drink some wine.

I suggest you to pick up this detective of Georges Simenon’s if you’re in for a fast-paced read filled with intrigues. It’s like, the more you read, the more does the fogg of suspense thicken.

Please, share your thoughts about your favorite Maigret detectives in comments!



“Hamlet” by William Shakespeare Read-a-long

19932363_1927007274218815_2115394869294792704_nMy read alongs with @ginaphx are turning into a very fun summer tradition. Like, last year we both read Cecelia Ahern’s newest dystopia novel and this year we’ve decided we need some challenge so Gina offered we read “Hamlet” in English. And that got me so thrilled because Shakespeare in English promised to be a mind teaser hahaaha.
However, Shakespeare’s florid writing proved itself to be rather enjoyable even though sometimes the monologues got so complicated that I just had to open my Russian edition to make sure I got it all correctly.

Upon finishing “Hamlet” I concluded that Shakespeare was a serial fictional characters killer. Really, what a crazy ending! Gives much to think about. So I immediately wrote to my friend and co-reader Gina @ginaphx and we had our discussion in which it turned out that we share each other’s opinions on most of the themes this play tackles.

One of my favourite scenes has been where Polonius gives his precepts to Laertes – sharing one of them here:
“Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice:                                                                         
Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgement”.

Morerover, what astonishes is that “Hamlet” ,being written back in 1600s, rises up problems which are still actual nowadays. Though, I guess, that’s what classics are for. So why not read Shakespeare and learn from represented persons’ mistakes?

I’m curious to hear your opinion if you have read “Hamlet”. Please share your thoughts or favorite quotes in comments!


The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

330px-metamorphosisLet me introduce you one of the weirdest books I have ever read: “Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka. With the weirdest opening line:

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. He was laying on his hard, as it were armor-plated, back and when he lifted his head a little he could see his domelike brown belly divided into stiff arched segments on top of which the bed quilt could hardly keep in position and was about to slide off completely. His numerous legs, which were pitifully thin compared to the rest of his bulk, waved helplessly before his eyes.”

No explanation of how did he turn to this horrible creature; actually, almost no explanation to anything haha. As I have later read in Wikipedia, this is Franz Kafka’s style – not explaining much.

When I just finished reading this book two weeks ago, I couldn’t decide whether I liked it or not – I had so many questions left unanswered! However, after thinking rethinking overthinking about the plot I understood that I liked it. The beauty of this short story lies in all those questions you first start asking the writer, – and when you understand that he is not going to answer, – yourself. Like, why did his sister do that? Why had not she at least tried to talk to him, to understand him, TO GATHER UP HER STRENGTHS AND LOOK AT HIM? And his mother? His father, who almost killed him? Why why did they all do this? All his life Gregor Samsa has been working hard to help and to satisfy the needs of his parents and sister, BUT as soon as he turned to an insect-like horrible creature they just pretended he did not exist. HEEEY gruesome Samsa family, even if he couldn’t work anymore, or had lost his human appearance, he was still Gregor, their loving son and brother.

“I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.”

Nevertheless, do not get me wrong, this book didn’t leave me that angry, no. “Metamorphosis” left me astounded because while this book had several fantastic elements, it was also real and true. To be honest, I expected this book would be shocking and unusual, because just before I started to read it, I came across one of Franz Kafka quotes, which says:

“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief.”

“Metamorphosis” is just the kind of book that wounds and stabs.

Now I see that I’m going to change my goodreads rating of “Metamorphosis” from 4 stars to 5. Because the more I think about it, the more truths I uncover for myself and the more I like it.

Thank you, Franz Kafka.


Fatima Djalalova.