The Move (Simenon novel)  

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"Le déménagement, "moving house": Georges Simenon's novella was translated as The Move in 1968 by Christopher Sinclair-Stevenson but has been long out of print in English; it seems never to have made it to paperback in the US or UK. One can see why: it's a relentlessly expository little book, with little plot interest. All the more reason why it should intrigue both Simenon completists and readers interested in the cultural watershed of the 1960s."[1]

"Like Jacques Tati in Mon oncle (1958) and Playtime (1967), Simenon imagines a world that modernism has made utterly unfamiliar."

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Le Déménagement (1967) is a 'roman dur' by Georges Simenon. It is the story of a man who moves with his family to a 'high rise'. Its theme is a criticism of the anonymity of modern machines for living in the banlieue and an exploration of dark sexuality leading to the downfall of the protagonist.



Emile Jovis leaves the old apartment on the rue des Francs-Bourgeois, where he had been living for years, to move with his family to Clairevie, a modern suburb. From this new installation, Jovis promises himself much happiness. Soon, he has to admit that Clairevie, where everyone isolates himself in anonymity, hardly replaces his old neighborhood in Paris. But Jovis makes a strange discovery through a poorly soundproofed partition.

His neighbor, Jean Farran, belongs to the maffia, he runs a strip club near the Champs-Elysées and is involved in a gang of car thieves. Each night, Jovis picks up echoes of Farran's and his girlfriend's most intimate life through the partition, as well as clues to the gangster's activities. It is a powerful revelation to him of the criminal life, the perversity, the shamelessness. He is fascinated and does not stop to find out more. One evening, he goes to the "Carillon", Farran's club. While a lady gets him drunk and offers herself to him, Emile has the impression, in this bar, of being caught in a kind of trap, while someone is simply after his money. In defiance, but also to assert a suddenly won "freedom", Jovis will start talking recklessly, showing that he knows about certain things. When he leaves the cabaret, a burst of machine-gun fire shoots him down on the sidewalk: he dies asking forgiveness from his family.

Special aspects of the novel

Through the disorientation of a bourgeois family transplanted to the green suburbs of Paris, the drama of a man attracted by a gang that he knows at first only in his imagination emerges: he will pay for the transgression of having entered it with his death.

Work description

Space and Time


Paris and its suburbs.


Contemporary time.

The characters

Main character

Emile Jovis. Director of a travel agency. Married, one son. About 35 years old.

Other characters

  • Blanche Jovis, wife of Emile, and Alain, their son, a high school student
  • Jean Farran, Jovis' neighbor and manager of the "Carillon-Doré
  • Irène and Alexa, trainers at the " Carillon-Doré ".

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Move (Simenon novel)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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