- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Black Spring Press Ltd (August 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0948238267
- ISBN-13: 978-0948238260
- Package Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,408,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Tenant Paperback – August 1, 1997
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
However, I find the phrase "sexual obsession" as used in the description to be misleading. Perhaps "gender obsession" or "identity obsession" would be more accurate.
Included in this volume were several short stories--also superb--and drawings done by the author. There is also an essay, but I recommend leaving it until afterward as it does give some minor things away.
Topor's brilliant novel, awash in nihilism, surrealism, and existential angst, is best remembered these days as the basis for one of Roman Polanski's most universally scorned movies. Millipede Press gives us a handsome fortieth anniversary edition here with an introduction by the equally talented wordsmith Thomas Ligotti, who spends twenty pages comparing Topor, favorably, to the equally absurd, but far more optimistic, Pirandello. Ligotti's introduction alone is worth the cover price, or would be had Ligotti turned it into something a bit longer (and thrown in a few Lovecraftian horrors along the way); as it is, even if you hate the novel and selected short stories (with a bit of Topor's artwork) that follow it, you won't feel like you've thrown your money away. Anything Thomas Ligotti writes is well worth your time.
Chances are, though, you're going to like what you read. Ligotti's Pirandello comparison is, of course, apt; Topor has the same sense of whimsy, but it seems disturbingly inappropriate in a book so relentlessly bleak. This, of course, only heightens the outrageousness, the effect of which is that no matter how insane things get, the reader is willing to accept just about anything. Does it work? You bet it does.
It should be no surprise that the accompanying stories here have the quality of fairy tales, and the art will be no surprise to anyone who's seen Fantastic Planet. (Monty Python fans will recognize it as well; Topor was an obvious influence on Terry Gilliam.) There's a great deal to like about this book; if you're unfamiliar with Topor, or only familiar with his film work, this edition of The Tenant is a great starting point. ****
I wrote a short story in highschool with the same
ending, the same idea, but of course Roland here
beat me to it by say 40 years or so.
However, that didn't stop me from enjoying it
It has a meticulous, claustrophobic atmosphere
develop somewhat early on in the book and it culminates
in an ending that is so grueseomely fantastic, and PERFECT.
Some of the perspective and other aspects of the novel
remind me of Philip K. Dick.
I've long been a fan of the 1976 Roman Polanski film and often wondered why it was so obscure. After reading Topor's novel, I had to appreciate how beautifully Polanski translated this very complex and disturbing work to the screen. Comparing it with the movie you realize Polanski left out only what he absolutely had to, and that wasn't much.
At the outset it seems that Trelkovsky is an average joe who lives in a world of material necessity, habitual discourtesy from others, and bullies. Actually I think this is kind of the point of the novel and the movie: that we inhabit a world of discourtesy, ugliness, and any sensitive or kind impulse we possess will slowly be beaten out of us by the harshness of the people we encounter. We are all bullies to an extent, but the bigger ones will eventually discover us and dictate our lives for us.
We realize fairly quickly that Trelkovsky is not an average joe at all, at least not after moving into Monsieur Zy's apartment. Topor does an amazing job of making the most revolting monsters out of otherwise unremarkable characters; more of his work really needs to be translated, because this is as good as anything Gogol or even Kafka achieved in bringing out the menacing, grotesque qualities of daily encounter. He is mercilessly scrutinized by his neighbors who are, it seems, anal retentive to the point of insanity and are the kind of people who go out of their way to torment an impoverished woman with a disabled child.
Trelkovsky happens to move into the very apartment where a young woman, Simone Choule, committed suicide. Topor uses this as the catalyst for Trelkovsky's eventual erosion of identity and madness. His gradual obsession with this mysterious young woman who in the end we learn very little about (aside from things like her reading tastes, her fashion sense which becomes well known to Trelkovsky in a quite unorthodox way, etc) is paramount in what he perceives as a self-destructive vengeance against his tormentors.
The last few pages of the novel are when things get really disturbing and we realize just how far around the bend Trelkovsky has gone. I couldn't help thinking that there was something very symbolic about his perception of the bathroom opposing his apartment--the lack of a stench, the inhuman cleanliness of Monsieur Zy and the rest of the gang--in opposition to their abhorrent behavior. These are people who will not admit they are people. The slightest sound has them rapping frantically on Trelkovsky's walls, his trash itself seems out of place in their tidy garbage cans, and seemingly do nothing but work, sleep, and bother others to no end. Topor is deadly serious for the most part here, but is also making a hilarious comment on our animality all that more funny for its subtletly. Topor's stories at the end are equally bleak yet have a bit more comedy in them, very dark comedy. The artwork at the end reflects perfectly the mind of the author and is thoroughly enjoyable.
Thomas Ligotti's introduction couldn't be more ideal. Being a fan of his fiction I realized that this is the kind of thing he himself might have written, and the difference in writing style between himself and Topor is actually very slight. He makes a razor sharp distinction between "insiders" and "outsiders" in literature and while that may seem a limited dichotomy at first, after he does the grim explaining you immediately understand. This is as good a piece of literature as any I have read and one of the most intense reading experiences I have ever had. A must read!