The Krull House
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Recommended by David
‘Forget Maigret – it's for the romans durs that Simenon deserves to be remembered, and this malevolent masterpiece is among the best of them.’
From the publisher
'Vintage Simenon, a dark masterpiece . . . eerily prophetic' John Banville, Guardian
'It's not because you're foreigners. It's because you aren't foreign enough . . . or else that you are too foreign'
Just as the Krull house sits on the edge of a rural French town, the family occupies a marginal place in the life of the community around them. Snubbed by the locals despite having lived there for decades, they rely on trade with passing sailors to earn a living. When their relative arrives unannounced from Germany, with his unsettling, nonchalant ways, the family becomes the target of increasing suspicion and the scapegoat for a terrible crime.
Written on the eve of the Second World War, The Krull House is a taut, strangely prophetic novel about how distrust and hostility towards outsiders descends into hate-filled violence.
'Simenon lays out with ruthless exactitude the way selfish, conscience-free greed exploits modest, hospitable decency . . . The world of Chez Krull is a common, shared one' Julian Barnes, London Review of Books