Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
Pages: 144
Publication Date: March 6, 2007

The Engagement

by Georges Simenon, afterword by John Gray, translated from the French by Anna Moschovakis

$10.36 $12.95


An NYRB Classics Original

The 200th NYRB Classic

On the outskirts of Paris, a prostitute is found murdered in a vacant lot. In a seedy apartment house nearby lives pasty, fat Mr. Hire. Mr. Hire who earns his living through a petty postal scam, is a convicted pornographer, a peeping Tom, and, once a week, the unlikely star of a Parisian bowling club, where people think he works for the police. He is a faceless man of regular habits who keeps to himself and gives his neighbors the creeps. After the murder, Mr. Hire’s concierge points a finger at him: he was out late the night of the crime. The police have the suspect under twenty-four-hour surveillance. They are only waiting for him to make the inevitable mistake and give himself away. Except that creepy Mr. Hire is in fact an innocent man, whose only mistake is to have fallen head-over-heels in love with the wrong girl.

One of the most chilling and compassionate of Simenon’s extraordinary psychological novels, The Engagement explores the mystery of a blameless heart in a compromised soul.

Download the Reading Group Guide for The Engagement.Georges Simenon, afterword by John Gray, translated from the French by Anna Moschovakis


Published when Europe was between the wars, the novel depicts the impoverished City of Light as a moral vortex where truth isn't as highly valued as survival. As with all of the hard novels, The Engagement is considerably more complex than most existential thrillers. Gripping, too—you'd have to scan the rest of the Simenon shelf to find a more engrossing beach read.
Time Out New York

This is a quietly compelling story with no hero, no villain and no justice—just the inevitability of fate.
Publishers Weekly