The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien by Georges Simenon

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Because of a yearly reading challenge, I ended up reading a crime novel by Simenon. Years ago I read a couple of novel by this author, but I was not satisfied, mainly due to the fact that my idea of crime novel was a clue driven one (like Agatha Christie’s), where the reader can act as the investigator.

Simenon’s crime books are not like that: the reader is unable to understand the solution before the ending, they are novel where the setting is extremely well described, and where emotions play a role too, both for the investigator and for the other characters.

For these reasons I liked reading The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien: the crime plot begins almost by change, because of the change of two suitcases, and Maigret has to deal with an evident suicide case, that however presents some strange elements, like the constant presence of Joseph Van Damme, who declare he does not know the dead man.

Maigret to unravel the case has to travel between Paris, Rheims, Bremen e Liege. It’s better I say no more, not to spoil the reading, but for sure I will read again the novels by Simenon I own and I will read more.


* The Hanged man of Saint-Pholien by Georges Simenon ★★★★☆

*I read this book in italian

Master of the Day of Judgement by Leo Perutz

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In this book we face the memories of Baron von Yosch, military on leave, and the mysterious suicide of actor Eugen Bischoff, husband of Dina, the woman  the baron himself still loves.

Dina’s brother is not convinced by the idea of the suicide, and he accuses the baron for the death of the actor. Von Yosch then begins searching for the true killer, and his research overlaps with the one of other people who were at Dina’s home the night of the suicide.

From the inquiry it emerges a supernatural element that could have induced Bischoff – and other artists – to suicide.

Is the baron the killer, jealous of Dina’s love, or something made Bischoff to face the darkness inside himself?

The novel is nice, but the author chooses not to examine the themes of the story: the supernatural is used to conclude the story, but it could have been used more for the characters’ psychological introspection.


Master of the Day of Judgement by Leo Perutz ★★★☆☆½

*I read this book in italian

Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford

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Suicide Notes affronta un tema piuttosto difficile, quello del suicidio (derivato da problemi di relazione e emotivi) nei ragazzi.

Jeff si risveglia in un centro psichiatrico dopo aver fallito il proprio suicidio, e il romanzo percorre i 45 giorni del programma di recupero in cui i genitori l’hanno iscritto. La vita di Jeff si divide quindi tra sedute di analisi con lo psichiatra responsabile della struttura e di incontri che coinvolgono anche gli altri giovani, ospiti della struttura per motivi differenti. Nel corso del romanzo Jeff si troverà ad affrontare il problema alla base del suo comportamento, prima di tutto ammettendolo con se stesso.

Grazie all’ironia e sarcasmo di Jeff il romanzo non è drammatico, ma risulta in molte parti anche divertente. Non sono però sicura che alcune immagini siano adatte a un pubblico molto giovane.

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Suicide Notes deals with a difficult theme, the suicide in young people (mainly due to emotional and relational issues).

Jeff wakes up in a psychiatric yard after failing to kill himself. The novel follows Jeff’s story during the 45 days of the rehab program he has to follow for his parent’s decision. Jeff’s life is divided among single therapy with the psychiatrist who manages the structure and with group sessions with the other girls and boys living in the structure. During the novel Jeff has to face the problem behind his behaviours, first of all by analyzing it himself. stesso.

Thanks to Jeff’s irony and sarcasm the novel is not dramatic, and some parts are light and funny. However I’m not sure that some images are quite suited for a young reader.

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Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford ★★★☆

John Green and dying young

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Two times till now I wrote in a comment this thing about dying young, and both times it was about a John Green‘s novel – the only two novel of this writer I read for now, I honestly hope his other works being more happy.

The former I read is the well-known “The fault in our stars” that takes the title by a Shakespeare quote:

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

and that is being the inspiration for a movie that will soon come out; the latter is “Looking for Alaska” that in this case is not the State but a girl and that it should be read before “The fault in our stars”.

When I read them – but this reflection mainly concerns the former one – my review was enthusiastic (the review is the one below, only little bit less passionate than the original version), but after some time I began to think that maybe it’s a clever book that plays on emotions and empathy, so my whole opinion could be reviewed.

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This song will save your life by Leila Sales

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In the end “This song will save your life” is the usual coming of age novel that teaches how it’s important to be fine with ourselves overcoming other people opinion.

Elise always feels that she does not belong: at the theatre course, at school, on the bus she does not feel at ease and she is the bullies target.

The discover of an underground club and of an unexpected talent will slowly bring her towards people with similar interests and to like again life.

The novel deals with a quite standard theme in the genres, and going from the past to the present it keeps the reader interested; maybe a bit naive the situation at school: nearly everyone hates Elise without particular reason (and she is the target of any kind of bully) the characters meet at Start are more believable in being particular.

I also liked the absence of a canonical love story replaced with a less romantic but more realistic one coherent with the described characters.

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* This song will save your life by Leila Sales ★★★★☆

*I read this book in English

This song will save your life by Leila Sales

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Read this post in English

In fin dei conti “This song will save your life” è il solito romanzo di formazione che insegna come sia importante accettarsi superando le pressioni del giudizio altrui.

Elise ha sempre la sensazione di non appartenere: al corso di teatro, a scuola, sul bus si sente sempre a disagio ed è bersaglio delle crudeltà degli altri ragazzi.

La scoperta di un locale underground e di un talento inaspettato riusciarnno man mano ad avvicinarla a persone che condividono i suoi interessi e a farle piacere di nuovo la vita.

Il romanzo affronta temi abbastanza standard del genere, spostandosi tra passato e presente riesce ad interessare il lettore; forse un po’ ingenua la situazione scolastica di Elise, praticamente a scuola tutti la odiano senza apparenti motivi (è il bersaglio preferito di ogni bullo esistente), i personaggi incontrati in Start invece sono più convincenti nel loro essere particolari.

Mi è piaciuta anche l’assenza della canonica storia d’amore sostituita da una versione meno romantica ma più concreta ed in linea con i personaggi descritti.

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* This song will save your life by Leila Sales ★★★★☆

*Ho letto questo libro in Inglese