Fremd im eigenen Haus
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Fremd im eigenen Haus

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  420 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Dirty, drunk, unloved, and unloving, Hector Loursat has been a bitter recluse for eighteen long years—ever since his wife abandoned him and their newborn child to run off with another man. Once a successful lawyer, Loursat now guzzles burgundy and buries himself in books, taking little notice of his teenage daughter or the odd things going on in his vast and ever-more-dila...more
Hardcover, 235 pages
Published April 19th 2011 by Diogenes (first published 1940)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutThe House at Pooh Corner by A.A. MilneLittle House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls WilderBleak House by Charles DickensLittle House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
208th out of 218 books — 21 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,126)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Those four stars should have an asterisk beside them. In the ungenerous, critical light of the morning after, The Strangers in the House is probably just a three star book, but because I read a good chunk of it in the middle of the night, with the rain listlessly tapping on the roof and myself burrowed under a blanket to escape the pre-autumn chill, I awarded it an additional associative star. It was a perfect book, in my appraisal, for nestling; it contributed to such a totalizing feeling of se...more
Of the five or six Simenons I've read, The Strangers In the House strikes me as most pleasurable. The plotline would tell you little about the pleasures of this volume, they're all in the actual writing, so I will limit myself to the following. At the core of the novel is a man, Loursat, a lawyer, who has lived a deadened life since his wife left him for another man eighteen years ago. Now, however -- ironically -- with the commission of a murder that takes place in his own home he returns to li...more
In cerca di un diversivo per alleggerire il malloppo di Moby Dick, che rischiava seriamente di togliermi del tutto qualsiasi spirito d'iniziativa riguardante la lettura, ho ripiegato su un giustificatissimo saccheggio in biblioteca. Fra i tanti ostaggi questo Adelphi di Simenon, Gli intrusi.


"Una piovosa sera di ottobre, in una quieta cittadina di provincia dove ogni cosa sembra immersa «in un’atmosfera stagnante». In casa Loursat de Saint-Marc tutto si svolge esattamente come ogni...more
Jan 29, 2011 Tosh rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hardcore Simenon fans
Not my favorite Simenon book, but still it's interesting and quite good. Reading the plot line is actually better than the book for some reason. And again it could have been a mood thing at the time of the reading of this book. Nevertheless Georges Simenon's work is pretty amazing. He has this cold or cool overlook of everything. He really doesn't judge his characters, which is great.

January 29, 2011,

I just re-read the book and my overall thoughts are the same, but what impresses me about Simen...more
Good but not as engrossing as the other romans durs of Simenon I've read. A father (Loursat) sequesters himself in his large home after his wife leaves, barely communicating with his servants and daughter (who's two at the time). He drinks and broods and seeks no one's company for years. A murder in his house changes the balance of things in the household and Loursat, a lawyer, even decides to take on the defense of his daughter's unjustly accused young lover.

There is much here about the petite...more
THE STRANGERS IN THE HOUSE. (1940). George Simenon. ****.
This is certainly among the best of Simenon’s “psychological novels.” The story here takes a close look at a lawyer who has withdrawn from society, to the point where he doesn’t even know what is going on in his own house. His life thus far has not been personally successful. His wife left him for another man nearly eighteen years ago – leaving him to take care of their two-year old daughter, Nicole. He and Nicole rarely talked, and their...more
Jim Coughenour
Until this spring, I'd never read anything by Georges Simenon, the indecently prolific (400 books?!) author of the popular Maigret detective stories, as well as shelves of romans dur – hard Hobbesian parables (solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short) of mid-20th century misery. I still haven't read Maigret, but I've become addicted to the romans dur, mostly because New York Review of Books has been republishing them in stylish, haute-noir paperbacks.

I started with Three Bedrooms in Manhattan,...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
There is in all the novels of Simenon a high weight on his characters. They are not free. They are the toys of their destiny. They evolve to their inevitable tragedy because they are resigned to being the slave of their passion. There is Greek tragedy in these novels.
One summer I decide to read all Simenon's book in Pléiade collection.
There is something which trouble me in this incapacity to be able to act on his fate.
I think we have always the choice.
However Simenon is an immense writer and not...more
A reclusive attorney develops a new sense of life when a murder is committed under his own roof. His daughter's involvement with a "gang" of petty criminal stirs something in him that had lain dormant for years.

Adrian Alvarez
The pleasures of this book come from subtle moments - an elegant piece of description, the natural interplay of diction between the main character's inner world and the world around him.

Georges Simenon may be a writer's writer. Certainly, a lot of what I liked about this novel was the economic way he was able to use language to convey two distinct and interesting storylines: one psychological, the other within the constraints of the genre.

I've read Paul Theroux compare Simenon to Camus (http://...more
Rowland Bismark
The Strangers in the House begins with a phone call Hector Loursat makes to the local public prosecutor. Loursat quickly gets to the point:

"I've just found a stranger in my house ... in bed, in one of the rooms on the third floor ... He died at the exact moment I reached him ... Will you see about it, Gérard ? ... It's really tiresome. It looks to me like a criminal affair."

"Drunk as usual" is what the prosecutor's wife (who happens to be Loursat's cousin), listening in on the conversation, thin...more
It is a testament to Simenon’s quirky way of crafting a novel that when reading The Strangers in the House, one finds the actual solving of the mystery as the least interesting part of the novel.

Simenon took an interesting approach to his novels to say the least. He would often start out by writing everything he knew about his main characters on the backs of envelopes. Simple things: where do they live, what do they do for a living, who is in their family. Case in point, Hector Loursat, the prot...more
I loved the first Simenon I read (Dirty Snow) and hoped this would be as good. It wasn't --quite.

Simenon again creates a character on the edge of society, this time it is Loursat a disgraced, former lawyer who has fallen from an elite to a drunken recluse. Loursat's world is described so well, so fully that it almost make sense, it is almost appealing. But the other characters are not as filly realized and as Loursat's journey back to society progresses there is less and less to hold on to. And...more
This is an odd little book. It's part whodoneit, part courtroom drama, part character study, and part redemption story. The character study and resulting redemption were certainly the most interesting bits and were given the most focus. The murder mystery part, though interesting and of course essential to the story of Loursat's growth, was a little bland (though I certainly may be spoiled by Agatha Christie when it comes to my expectations of what a true detective story should be). The world Si...more
Georges Simenon is one of the world’s most prolific crime writers. His novels number over four hundred. Amazingly, they are also highly regarded. I have read a few. Those have been singular and interesting. I particularly like his Inspector Maigret stories. This is not one of them. I liked it also. Always the mystery of the crime is secondary. It is the mystery of the people his protagonist engages with that keeps one reading. A gang of youths is living in a morose defense attorney’s house, wher...more
It's always nice to read a book that doesn't waste a word, especially when it manages to touch on so many things, despite the economy. If you want an example of the blurry lines between literary and genre fiction, you can't do much better than the Strangers in the House, which manages to be a police procedural, a meditation on solitude, an existential novel, and a social drama, all at once. A rich alcoholic lawyer wakes up from his drunken stupor one evening to find that his daughter and a bunch...more
Oct 27, 2008 Jim rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Simenon newbies
Recommended to Jim by: John Banville
A man “awakens” from an 18-year affair with the bottle when a shot rings out in his house and a stranger is found dead in an unused room. Imagine “The Fall of the House of Usher” as a teleplay written during the golden age of radio and you get a sense of how Simenon sets out solving the various problems he creates for his characters. Even though the plot is a bit clunky it mirrors the protagonist’s gradual re-engagement with the world. The Strangers in the House isn’t one his best romans durs bu...more
A short, well written mystery that isn't really about the mystery - more about the gradual transformation of our main character, Hector Loursat, a gifted attorney who spends most of his time sitting in his study reading and downing glasses of red wine, only leaving to descend into his wine cellar and lug up bottles of burgundy. A nearly complete alcoholic recluse, Hector is awakened from his hazy life of the mind and drawn unwillingly into the life of his daughter (who he's tried his best to com...more
Tim Howard
My first non-Maigret Simenon. Although this wasn't the most engaging of stories, Simenon's depiction of the main character, the sad sack alcoholic recluse Lousart, made it all worthwhile.
Ben Dougherty
Excellent read! The translation is a little rough in a couple places, but the main character is so well written, and the plot is fantastic and tight. There are no extravagances in Simenon's writing. He gets the job done well with admirable brevity.
Lindsay Willert
An enjoyable mixture of psychological exploration of characters with a mobile plot that is not overwrought with manufactured twists and turns. The transformation of Loursat is measured, realistic, and even endearing, and though he and his family are hardly ethically pristine, I did find myself rooting for him in his defiance of his skeptics.
Justin Howe
A drunk reclusive lawyer comes out of reclusion when he hears a gunshot from another part of his house and discovers a man dying in a spare bedroom. Soon he learns a gang of delinquents (including his daughter) has been using his house as a headquarters, and he’s drawn out into the world when he agrees to defend the main suspect in court.

Simenon sort of falls apart if you read too much of him at once, but for a taste every now and then, and when he’s writing on all cylinders as he is here, he’s...more
Anthony Schlagel
I didn't know about this French author (born 1903) until I read a review within the last year. He's famous for writing detective stories but, as I have done with other others such as Philip K. Dick, I have found their off-genre works wonderful. The Strangers in the House was first published in 1940. It's well-crafted, intelligent, psychological, and humane. The plot is mysterious and the main character is multidimensional (from pathetic to wise). Why not follow my advice and read it?
This book reminded me that Georges Simenon manages to be both cool and warm at the same time. His writing is intelligent and spare, or so his translators indicate. There is no fat to trim. There are enough characters to set up, complicate, and expose the crime, and not many more. His colors are rich, usually dark. And here and there are beams of light that illuminate and enrich the whole thing. This is a fine story about the dark and the light, with plenty of room for movement.
From the looks of the other reviews on this site, I'm the only one that didn't enjoy this book. In fact, I disliked it so much I stopped reading it half way through. It had the makings to be a good story - a murder mystery with a quirky recluse as the main character. But, I found the story so disjointed it was hard to keep track of whether the narration was happening in the main characters head or merely the author providing the narration.
Cristiana Formetta
Non ho mai messo meno di quattro stelle a un libro di Simenon, ma stavolta ho trovato insopportabile lo "spiegone" finale. È una pratica che detesto sia nei libri che nei film. E poi secondo me, nel caso de "Gli Intrusi", lo spiegone non accresce, anzi minimizza, il senso di isolamento che il protagonista sente su di sé. Detto questo, Simenon resta quel geniaccio che è, e tutti i personaggi sono caratterizzati in maniera egregia, come al solito.
This book is different from other Simenon novels. It is about a reclusive alcoholic, Loursat (a retired lawyer) who wakes up one day to find that a stranger has been murdered in his home. He agrees to defend the man who is charged with the crime and little by little he rejoins society. As much as I disliked Loursat originally, I grew to like him as he timidly ventures out of his home interviewing and tracking down witnesses.
Amanda Byrne
This is the first book I've read by Simenon (who wrote something like 200 novels in his career). I don't know if it's because it's translated from French or if it's just the way it was written, but the plot felt underdeveloped. You find out too late why Loursat dropped off the grid the way he did, and the other members of the Boxing Bar gang are only on the periphery...but they shouldn't be. Frustrating to read at times.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 37 38 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
NYRB Classics: The Strangers in the House, by Georges Simenon 1 3 Oct 30, 2013 07:31PM  
  • Mouchette
  • Proud Beggars
  • Witch Grass
  • The Child
  • Miserable Miracle (New York Review Books Classics)
  • Alien Hearts
  • In Love
  • Blood on the Forge
  • Varieties of Exile
  • The Pure and the Impure
  • Moravagine
  • The Expendable Man
  • Unforgiving Years
  • My Fantoms
  • Don't Look Now: Selected Stories of Daphne Du Maurier
  • Pages from the Goncourt Journals
  • The Pilgrim Hawk
  • Fatale
Simenon was one of the most prolific writers of the twentieth century, capable of writing 60 to 80 pages per day. His oeuvre includes nearly 200 novels, over 150 novellas, several autobiographical works, numerous articles, and scores of pulp novels written under more than two dozen pseudonyms. Altogether, about 550 million copies of his works have been printed.

He is best known, however, for his 75...more
More about Georges Simenon...
The Man Who Watched Trains Go By Dirty Snow The Yellow Dog Three Bedrooms in Manhattan Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett

Share This Book