Patrick Kelly's Reviews > The Tenant

The Tenant by Roland Topor
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's review
Sep 21, 2010

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Topor was a great illustrator and novelist. His most popular book was translated to screen brilliantly by Roman Polanski (who also stars in the film as the protagonist). However, the novel communicates all of the intricacies and details of psychological obsession. The man character and protagonist of the novel moves into the apartment of a woman who's just jumped from her window. He visits her in the hospital and becomes slowly convinced that she is taking over his identity. He is essentially psychologically coerced by himself or by his environment and neighbors to become more like her. He finds a missing tooth behind a dresser, begins to wear her clothing and makeup, orders her drinks at the cafe. There are many eerie moments, described beautifully by Topor, when the silent apartment complex is filled with an air of quiet discontent. The neighbors hate noise, and drive the protagonist crazy, to the point that he's scared to walk around his place at night. Across the downstairs foyer, from his window, he can see the other side of the building, where neighbors sit quietly in the communal bathroom, staring ahead at nothing, or at his window. This novel is an interesting and riveting experience of the psychological depths to which we can become obsessed - to the point that we may even subvert our own identities.

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