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The Tenant

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  1,178 ratings  ·  105 reviews

The Tenant chronicles a harrowing, fascinating descent into madness as the pathologi-cally alienated Trelkovsky is subsumed into Simone Choule, an enigmatic suicide whose presence saturates his new apartment. More than a tale of possession, the novel probes disturbing depths of guilt, paranoia, and sexual obsession with an unsparing detachment.
Paperback, 176 pages
Published August 1st 1997 by Black Spring Press (first published 1964)
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Lets kick off with tenants here, in the plural. Not just any tenants, but those unfortunates in early twentieth century Europe. I’ve seen them three times in a row now: in Nadas’ ‘Book of Memories’, in Agayev’s ‘Romance with Cocaine’, and third time lucky: here again.

Imagine the horror: you go home, and as we all know a man’s home is his castle, his domain, his kingdom. A place to decompress and But here: or rather back there: oh no,no,no. You drop and smash a plate on the floor: Ba
What an intriguing tale of sorts, a man a new tenant quite normal at first seems to descend into another world and takes what he sees and hears around his new surroundings and develops a paranoia and blows the matter out of proportion in his psyche, or does he? Is it maybe just the evil new neighbors?

My first from this French writer great writing he plays with your thoughts and leaves you scratching your head and also laughing after the story is over. This will remain for a while in your thoug
Bill  Kerwin

Although Topor falls a little short of the existential horror of Kafka and Bruno Schulz, he surpasses them both in misanthrope and menace without ever departing-except for what are probably Trelkovsky's hallucinations--from realistic fiction. It is as good as the movie, and in my opinion that is high praise indeed. (Note: the book concludes with a bonus of four short pieces. "A Fairy Story" is particularly nasty, and not to be missed.)
I want to write a review, but I think anything I say will give something away that shouldn't be given away. Read this book, maybe ignore the introduction which I will review and say is terrible. The author of it knows little about books and shit about anything outside of angst. If he ever happens to come across this then I just have to say, go kill yourself, right now. Go do it, the fact that you're still living makes everything you say in your introduction sound trite and immature (do you wanna ...more
Nate D
Oct 04, 2011 Nate D rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: old and new tennants
Recommended to Nate D by: neighbors
Identity, paranoia, madness, and the problems of living with neighbors. Both the ones who actually live nextdoor, and in the larger societal sense, perhaps. It's better to go in blind for this strange little horror story to work its very disquieting spell, so I'll leave it at that.

Roland Topor, besides forming the Panic Movement in Paris with psychedelic cult directors Jodorosky and Arrabel, besides doing all the designs for sci-fi animation classic Fantastic Planet, besides generating endless f
MJ Nicholls
An effective horror tale from the ‘Groupe Panique’ polymath. For an amusing summary and sassy shtick, see this tenant. For a personal account in loving lower case, see this tenant. For more on Topor, see this tenant. For a long review in Persian, see this tenant. For 100 reasons to kill yourself right now, see the author. For a review by a man called William Van, see this future corpse. For a review by an extremely popular GR member, see this mad blinking eye twitching inside a bandaged head. ...more
The Tenant or The Chimerical Lodger is still vivid in my mind - the book made quite a powerful impression on me. Although the beginning was rather slow, with depictions of mundane activities which seemed redundant, the strange happenings were not long overdue and from that moment on I couldn't put the book down. It's mesmerizing, it's intense, it's much more than a horror story.

The main character's gradual slip into insanity is skilfully orchestrated by Roland Topor, although it is a little bit
Ben Winch
I haven't had much luck with French writers lately. Queneau, Vian, Topor - sometimes I'd just as soon exchange them all for a couple of books by Jean Giono, so different in tone to these zero-gravity fantasies, or for those pre-surrealists like Nerval and Gautier who really seemed to be trailblazing, not just opening up side-trails to dead ends and minor attractions. Roland Topor may be a great artist, but The Tenant, to me, is strictly sideline - something for the master to doodle in the margin ...more
Ben Loory
Dec 21, 2009 Ben Loory rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ben by: Danielle
all these years, the tenant has been one of my favorite movies, and until a few years ago i never even knew it was based on a book. then i found out (thanks, danielle!) but for some reason i just assumed that it wasn't very good because obviously roman polanski had just used it as a template and then made all the good stuff up on the set, like all genius directors do as everyone knows! but then i accidentally read it and now i feel kind of bad, because it's perfect and brilliant, and also really ...more
Eddie Watkins
A nightmare of paranoia and obsession hovering between farce and terror told in a cool inevitable manner. Some stories seem to find their way as they go along, but The Tenant reads as completely predetermined from the beginning (as if the transcription of a dream still vivid in the mind), just as the protagonist's fate to be possessed by the former tenant is predetermined even before he rents the apartment, just as I as a reader having seen the movie knew everything that was to happen; a web of ...more
Grotesca, truculenta, sórdida, inquietante, surrealista, esperpéntica, desquiciante, son algunos de los adjetivos que se me ocurren para calificar esta extraña historia del franco-polaco Roland Topor. ’El quimérico inquilino’ es una obra que te sumerge en la deformidad psicológica de su protagonista, Trelkovski, introduciendo grandes dosis de humor negro, algo que se va palpando a medida que avanza la historia.

Estructurada en tres actos ’El quimérico inquilino’ (Le locataire chimerique, 1964) na
What would happen if you suddenly realized you didn't know yourself? The Tenant is a little nightmare disguised as a book. Topor creates a spiral into madness gradually and in places and circumstances that seem at once familiar but melt into the surreal. Was Trelkovsky, the subject of this madness, crazy? Or what he perceived to be the truth... the truth? (Polanski directed a movie called Le Locataire in 1976 based on this book).

This edition of the book also included an introduction by Thomas Li

آپارتمان در این کتاب تنها نماد اجتماع سرکوبگری که انسان را به ورطه‌ای می‌کشاند که از "خود" به در شده و به صورت تلویحی تبدیل به "دیگری" می‌شود نیست. آپارتمان می تواند نماد "مذهب" باشد یا نمادی از "خانواده". در مقیاسی دیگر آپارتمان سمبولی از ذهن خود انسان است. انسان‌ها در بسیاری اوقات خود باعث مسخ خویشتن می‌شوند. "نباید"هایی که ما برای خویشتن "باید" می‌کنیم و به آن‌ها تن می‌دهیم قادرند که از "ما"، "ما"یی دیگر بسازند. در هرحال باید توجه کنیم که مسئله‌ی مطرح شده در کتاب آن‌قدر جهان‌شمول است که هرکس
Great book, close to the movie for those wondering...and this edition features a great and provacative Thomas Ligotti essay(food for thought whether or not you agree 100% with him, which you probably will not)
review of
Roland Topor's The Tenant
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - December 15, 2012

The way I remember it is that my 1st encounter w/ Roland Topor's work was in a bk I read in October, 1975, called Bizarre (1965), compiled by Barry Humphries. As I recall, there was a series of Topor cartoons that I hated so much that I actually tore out the pages that they were on b/c I felt like they ruined the bk for me. I still have that copy of Bizarre so I took it off my shelves to consult it for this rev
May 31, 2010 Bill rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bill by: karen
Shelves: fiction, lit-fiction
really great, extremely bizarre novel about a man slowly going mad...or is he? you'll have to make up your own mind.there are 4 very good short stories at the end of the book, followed by some of the author's surrealistic drawings.this book was made into a movie by roman polanski, which i'll have to find and watch.must be a weird movie. as i often do, i have to thank karen, not only for telling me about this book's existence but actually sending me a copy.
Some infantile obnoxious hippie bullshit from time to time (farting in public, violence, focusing on gross things that hippies think are funny and "edgy" when actually they are dumb). This hippie bullshit is found in Topor's other book, Joko's Anniversary (over the top excessive sex scenes and violence). It is like watching those shitty Troma movies and then listening to your friend praise them as "cool" because one of the Troma characters is a dinosaur with tits. These friend's, much like Troma ...more
Mehran Najafi
روایت خطی "مستاجر"، به یک کارناوال شباهت دارد. کارناوالی مملو از ساختارهای سوررئالیستی و فاکتورهایی که ذهن پراکنده ترلکوفسکی را رفته رفته به زنجیر می‌کشد. او، از همان آغاز در یک تئوری توطئه به سر می‌برد. این تئوری ابتدا بسیار کمرنگ و با شواهدی ضعیف رو می‌شود؛ که از هر کدام‌شان می‌شود نتایج مختلفی گرفت. و همین نتایج مختلف، خواننده را حتا تا انتهای کتاب دچار شبهه می‌کند که آیا واقعا توطئه‌ای در جریان است، یا راویِ سوم شخص، دچار نوعی پارانوئید شده و به همه چیز با دید شک و شبهه نگاه می‌کند. ترلکوفسک ...more
Will N Van
I ran across Roland Topor's "The Tenant," while searching for fiction that resembled the style of Thomas Ligotti. He has done the introduction, and it is an interesting study as to how the literary world may be divided into "insiders and outsiders." It is his contention that while works such as Albert Camu's "The Stranger," or "One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand," by Nobel Prize-winning author Luigi Pirandello may be bleak, they offer a resolution to their basic themes that exhibit "an ideali ...more
while reading this horror story of a personable young man?/woman? terrorized and De-personalized by his neighbors and slum lord, i couldn't help reflecting on my own neighborhood/neighbors and how through timidity, displeasure of confrontation, and frankly, high-mindedness, i quite often find myself eating my guts out. why? you may ask, would you let your 20 something oh-so-sanctified-daddy's-a-big-banker-in-a-little-shithole-okie-town-punk-ass intimidate you tuck? why indeed? one wants to just ...more
Mike Lester
What can I say? This is one instance where the novel and film perfectly complement each other. Polanski was remarkably faithful to the novel, hence he ended up making one of the best horror films ever made. This novel is a fascinating study of isolation and paranoia, almost like something Kafka would have written if he'd stuck around longer. The Thomas Ligotti introduction in this Millipede edition is wonderful as well (an excerpt from his study in literary nihilism, The Conspiracy Against the H ...more
The story of Mr. Trelkovsky and his new found Paris apartment is at times suspenseful, disgusting, laugh-out-loud funny and wonderfully odd.

Perhaps not as shocking as it must have been in 1964, The Tenant will still surprise and unsettle you with a bizarre cast of characters and many unexpected twists and turns.
Roland Topor is an interesting and mysterious figure to me. I know him mostly as an artist or illustrator, but he also wrote this creepy novel about a man living an apartment with its dark history. Roman Polanski made a famous film out of this novel - be careful where you choose to live!
John Hatley
This was another truly remarkable book, a brilliant, well crafted horror story.
Raegan Butcher
A true original from cartoonist Roland Topor.This is one of my favorite books. Nothing quite like it. A strange, sinister little tale.
Topor's The Tenant is more terror than horror. There are no space monsters, serial killers in clown suits, or evil demons. The only thing there is you, your mind, and maybe, just possibly, the person next door, slowly knocking on your walls through the night.

The Tenant succeeds in being absolutely terrifying exactly because of this. Things are slowly deteriorating, and an already uncomfortable situation turns out - or appears to turn out - to be so much worse. It is very disturbing, sometimes b
Zahra. Hamzeh
خیلی اتفاقی به دستم رسید و کمتر از پنج ساعت خوندمش.انقد جذاب بود که از دستم جدا نمیشد.از موضوعات مورد علاقه‌مه و فضای مریضش و هم دوست داشتم خیلی!
Sever Gulea
Pe întreg parcursul desfăşurării naraţiunii, cititorul priveşte lucrurile din perspectiva lui Trelkovsky (chiriasul care devine inamicul numarul unu al vecinilor de bloc) ce explică şi confirmă treptat complotul locatarilor… finalul romanului nu lasă însă nici o convingere neclintită. Doar acţiunea se desfăşoară într-un bloc de apartamente care prin însăşi arhitectura şi tipul de existenţă pe care îl impune este labirintic prin excelenţă: un spaţiu în care pereţii au ochi, urechi, în care scăril ...more
Simin jabarzadeh
همه ما داستانهایی شنیده ایم از کسانی که وقتی نتوانسته اند با محیط جدید تطبیق یابند به انسانهای منزوی و گوشه گیر تبدیل شده اند ولی کسی که نگران پذیرفته شدن در میان جمع نباشد تنهایی وانزوا چه بسا باعث شکوفا شدن استعدادهایش نیز بشود به این دلیل ساده که احساس نمی کند در موقعیتی قرار گرفته که مجبور است از اعتقاداتش کوتاه آمده و سازش کند . وضعیت ترلکوفسکی (قهرمان داستان) کاملا برعکس است او آن قدر نگران پذیرفته شدن از طرف جمع است که به داخل سطل زباله خم می شود و زباله های خودش را با زباله های همسایه قا ...more
Jacob David
I truly enjoyed the smallness of this book. The smallness of the man, the smallness of his world, and the horrible feeling of that pinpoint of his existence getting smaller and smaller as his mind goes and his world closes in around him and consumes him.

I sometimes had feelings of claustrophobia reading this book. You feel as trapped as Trelkovsky with no way of escape. It created quite an anxious feeling at times, a feeling of being constricted. This was a good one for my late night reading.
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A French illustrator, painter, writer and filmmaker, known for the surreal nature of his work. He was of Polish Jewish origin and spent the early years of his life in Savoy where his family hid him from the Nazi peril.
More about Roland Topor...
Four roses for Lucienne Najpiękniejsza para piersi na świecie Cafe Panika; Historyjki taksówkowe Dziennik Paniczny Bal na ugorze

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“Martians – they were all Martians. But they were ashamed of it, and so they tried to conceal it. They had determined, once and for all, that their monstrous disproportions were, in reality, true proportion, and their inconceivable ugliness was beauty. They were strangers on this planet, but they refused to admit it. They played at being perfectly at home. He caught a glimpse of his own reflection in a shop window. He was no different. Identical, exactly the same likeness as that of the monsters. He belonged to their species, but for some unknown reason he had been banished from their company. They had no confidence in him. All they wanted from him was obedience to their incongruous rules and their ridiculous laws. Ridiculous only to him, because he could never fathom their intricacy and their subtlety.” 2 likes
“Look at me, I'm not worthy of your anger, I'm nothing but a dumb animal who can't prevent the noisy symptoms of his decay, so don't waste your time with me, don't dirty your hands by hitting me, just try to put up with the fact that I exist. I'm not asking you to like me, I know that's impossible, because I'm not likeable, but at least do me the kindness of despising me enough to ignore me” 1 likes
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