Why are Emile and Marguerite Bouin still married? They cannot stand each other. This is evident from the moment we meet them, isolated and wordless before a beautiful fire. Their only correspondence is an occasional invective jotted on a scrap of paper--this discreetly flicked across the room to the recipient's lap.
A bizarre situation to be sure, but ideal for Simenon. Taking marriage born of a desperate need for companionship and following it to its devastation eight years later, Simenon patiently makes hate almost as alluring as love.