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The Tenant Paperback – October 1, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Centipede Press (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193361806X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933618067
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,179,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Roland Topor's book about city life alienation is one of the most brilliant pieces of horror I've read in some time; while reading it I couldn't help it but find some parallels between Topor's book and Thomas Ligotti's own "My Work is not yet Done". Ligotti himself also happens to write a great introduction to this book's main course, focusing on the differences between "pessimistic" receivers of the Novel prize for literature and the REAL pessimist writers that go unnoticed. Also included is a selection of four previously unpublished short stories and a brief gallery representative or Roland Topor's ink drawings.

But please, don't read Donna Di Giacomo's review on this page; I have no idea what she was thinking while writing it, but she pretty much fills it with SPOILERS for 75/80% of the novel, laying there for any unsuspecting readers to find and I have no idea why the amazon staff that usually checks these reviews before public viewing gave it the green light.. Fortunately for me I finished the book long before finding that spoiling wreck, but others might not be that lucky, and this is a very good book to have it mercilessly ruined like that.
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Roland Topor's "The Tenant" is nothing if not original; the author impresses his nightmarish worldview without leaving us a moment to draw breath, and as we read deeper and deeper into the tragic tale of M. Trelkovsky we can't help but share his vision, at least for the duration of the novel.

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thomas Ligotti, in the introduction to 'The Tenant', advocates the idea that Roland Topor resolved the dilemma posed by the central theme of his novel - that identity is only a delusion - while firmly positioned as an 'outsider'. Outsider, as in disenfranchised, excluded, alien. Insiders are allowed to bring tolerable solutions only, whether true or not - the world demands it. The outsider thumbs his nose at what the world wants; his obligation is to tell the truth as he sees it. It's no wonder, then, that 'The Tenant' is a horror story. The world does not nourish an outsider - it attacks him, and while Roland Topor may have been interested in identity and illusion, what he stunningly brought home to me was just how foul the assault on the outsider is.

In 'The Tenant', a young man named Trelkovsky needs a new apartment. As they are scarce in the city, he feels lucky to find one recently vacated - by a female suicide. Once settled, he tries to conform to the building's standards, but right away, his neighbors begin chastising him for the slightest noise. He alters his behavior to placate them, and avoids his friends to keep them from visiting - and making more noise. Weeks later, someone burglarizes his apartment, and steals his personal items. Slowly he becomes a cipher; and the fiends surrounding him conspire to change him into the person they want him to be - a copy of the woman who previously occupied the apartment. Even more sinister, they will continue until he suffers the same end as she.

Trelkovsky divines their scheme and at first he effusively complies, hoping they will be satisfied with the transformation alone.
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Format: Paperback
The Tenant is Roland Topor's fictional masterpiece. In it, he offers readers one of the most underrated protagonists in the thriller/horror genre, the ultimate outsider's outsider-as Thomas Ligotti correctly puts it in his introduction-the extremist nonconformist: Monsieur Trelkovski. This top-notch 1964 French novel is probably best known to American readers due in large part to Roman Polanski's incredibly close and respectable film adaptation of the same title, which came out in 1976 and also subsequently has gone on to become a classic horror film in its own right, often appearing on film registers and the best of cinematic lists.

Through a very ordinary plot, a powerful message is conveyed. Monsieur Trelkovski is a mild mannered, docile seeker of a new apartment in Paris, a strenuous task, because he is on the cusp of being evicted out of his old one. Through the grapvine, i.e. his co-worker, Simon, he comes across a possible vacancy in a new apartment, due to the fact that one of the tenants-a Ms. Simone Choule-has decided to "off" herself by jumping out of her apartment window. Though she does not die immediately and barely clings to life, Monsieur Trelkovsky takes a grim initative to visit her in the hospital, and in the simplicity of inappropriate desire, he wills for her demise (though it is unspoken) just so he can be the new renter of the "apartment".
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