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The Strangers in the House

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  794 ratings  ·  79 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
Paperback, 194 pages
Published October 24th 2006 by NYRB Classics (first published 1940)
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3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  794 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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Glenn Russell
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing

First published in 1940, a Georges Simenon non-Maigret roman durs or “hard novel,” a penetrating psychological study of Hector Loursat, a man who was a brilliant attorney in his younger days, awakened from his eighteen-year hermit-like existence by a murder committed in his own house. And why had Hector Loursat been living like a hermit all those years? For one very simple reason: without any explanation, Hector’s wife suddenly vanished, leaving him for another man, abandoned him and their two-y
Questo è il mio Simenon preferito.
Il Simenon che ho sempre voglia di rileggere, e prima o poi lo farò.

La prima versione cinematografica è del 1942, si intitola come il romanzo, “Les inconnus dans la maison”, la regia è di Henri Decoin, la sceneggiatura di Henri-Georges Cluzot, e il protagonista è interpretato da Raimu.

Ambientato nella provincia francese, quella che Simenon sa rendere in maniera magistrale.
In questo caso siamo a Moulins, nell’esatto centro della Franc
Of the five or six Simenons I've read, The Strangers In the House strikes me as the one generating the most narrative pleasure. A discussion of the plot-line would tell you little about the joys of this volume--it's all in the actual writing--so I'll 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, with the commission of a murder that takes place in his own home, he ...more
Sep 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nyrb
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
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I personaggi di Simenon escono fuori dalla carta. E siccome non sono mai stinchi di santo, condividi con loro per tutta la lettura i vizi, le miserie, gli errori... ma anche l'umanità. E alla fine li assolvi, in barba a tutta la giustizia terrena. O sei costretto a guardarli con compassione.
Una penna magica quella di Simenon.
Nov 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, nyrb, 2016
Imbeciles! A whole town of fools, of wretched human beings who didn't know why they were alive, who were moved along like cattle, complete with yoke and bell!

(p. 153)
Mohammad Ali
من این کتاب رو با فرض اینکه یه کتاب جنایی و کارآگاهیه بدست گرفتم اما گرچه فضای کلی اثر در مورد یک جنایت بود اما بیشتر باید اونو یه کتاب روانشناسانه و انسانی دونست

داستان، داستان وکیلی است که بواسطه ی جنایتی که توسط عده ای از جوونا در خونه اش انجام میشه از عزلت خودخواسته اش، بعد از فرار همسرش با یکی دیگه، بیرون می آید. کل داستان، داستان حس و حال این آدمه در قبال این آدمای جوون و جهانی که اونا توش زندگی می کنن

خلاصه اینکه به درد کسی که می خواد یه اثر جنایی بخونه نمی خوره. اما نفس داستان به نظرم خوند
Nancy Oakes
maybe like a 3.8, rounded up

Obviously had I read this novel straight through, it wouldn't have taken 15 days to do so -- I was sidetracked by Rasputin.

Most crime readers are very much into plot but in Simenon's romans durs, it's more the psychological/existentialist aspects of the characters that take center stage, and unless I'm at a point where I need fluff, that, of course, is the draw for me as a reader no matter which genre I read. The Strangers in the House highlights this distinction --
Ubik 2.0
Gli sconosciuti in casa
C’è un lieve ma significativo scarto fra il titolo originale di questo romanzo e la versione italiana.
Il termine “Intrusi” presenta l’accezione negativa di chi si introduce abusivamente e indesiderato (ad esempio nell’abitazione di una famiglia rispettabile) con intento disonesto , e forse si addice a qualche personaggio del libro, ma “Sconosciuti in casa” potrebbe invece alludere a tutt’altro tipo di persona, compresi gli stessi familiari o le donne di servizio ed ecco c
Feb 09, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The plot of this detective novel is not particularly surprising. What makes it superior to most is the deceptively simple style, which approaches things from odd angles, sketches characters with a few perfect strokes, and evokes interior and exterior environments with great vividness. Simenon summarizes (I think) his own book this way: the detective, who had been a recluse for 18 years, ventured out to discover "a new world, new people, new sounds and smells, new thoughts, new feelings, a swarmi ...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
Mar 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Philippe Malzieu
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Eighteen years ago lawyer Hector Loursat's wife ran off with another man, and ever since then Loursat has lived in a state of alienation from the world, ignoring even his daughter Nicole as he devotes his days to reading books and downing prodigious quantities of red wine. But one night there's a murder in his house, a murder that clearly has much to do with Nicole and the bunch of childishly criminal friends she has, without Loursat's knowledge, gathered around her. When the cops arrest Emile, ...more
Jim Coughenour
May 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bleakfiction
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,
Daniel Polansky
A reclusive lawyer is forced back into the hurly burly of existence when a murder takes place in his house. Simenon is really, really good, and this is fabulous, at once a genuinely compelling noir and a serious take on the common impulse to retreat in contempt before the banal idiocy of human contact. Loved it, strong rec.
Camilla (ReaderintheAttic)
Potete leggere la recensione anche sul mio blog:

Loursat è oramai alla metà dei suoi anni. La sua vita si svolge essenzialmente all'interno del suo studio e della sua biblioteca. Si accompagna intere notti con fumo e alcol, leggendo tratti di romanzi e saggi senza davvero impegno. Fino a che non ode un rumore estraneo: è un colpo di pistola. Così si ritrova coinvolto nella morte di un uomo mai visto, di un gruppo di giovani scalmanati e nella vita, per lui
May 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Simenon has a knack for noir, at least for this reader. I appreciate his emotionally cerebral approach and find all his stories appealing.

Loursat is a difficult character to warm up to. I found myself wanting to slap and embrace him. Just when you sense Loursat has finally emerged from his stupor he slips back into old habits while acknowledging his error, he’s apathetic and pathetic. He’s not just an absent parent, he’s absent from life. You have hope as he somewhat cleans up his act but you so
Jul 30, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Apr 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
uno sconosciuto ucciso nella casa di un avvocato di provincia asociale e alcolizzato- e il protagonista, pian piano, scopre di non essersi mai reso conto né delle dinamiche della cittadina in cui vive né, tantomeno, dei comportamenti di sua figlia, trascurata fin dall'infanzia. il risveglio avviene suo malgrado e la misteriosa morte di un uomo servirà a fargli ritrovare l'umanità e un posto nel mondo. non il simenon migliore che abbia letto (la psicologia di hector loursat è descritta magistralm ...more
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"E Loursat, sempre da solo, ancora dignitoso, se ne stava seduto al tavolo di un bistrot, davanti a un bicchiere di vino rosso."

Mi è difficile esprimere la gioia, mista a tristezza, quando si termina un libro come questo.
Un libro che ho divorato voracemente, appassionandomi alla figura dell'avvocato Loursat e alla sua vita sedentaria, introversa, tra un bicchiere di vino e la lettura di qualche libro. Da sfondo (e nemmeno tanto) a tutto ciò, avremo una banda di giovani, di diversa estrazione soc
Jun 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Osservatori sotterranei.
Succede che a saper leggere la vita sia proprio chi, quella stessa vita, non ha mai neppure tentato, forse, di viverla. Ombre, più che uomini, che nel buio di stanze piene di libri e sigarette, di vino e di torpore, coltivano la capacità di scorgere il vero, le intime leve di ogni gesto. E che sia uno sguardo o un omicidio, non ha poi così importanza.
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Nice. One of the better ones. Loursat is a very rich character, indeed.
Mar 17, 2007 rated it liked it
The Wilt Chamberlain of French letters.
Rowland Pasaribu
Aug 02, 2010 rated it liked it
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
The Strangers in the House follows Loursat, a formerly respected lawyer from a prominent family who has retreated to his bedroom, his books, and his wine since the sudden departure of his ex-wife decades earlier. The man is now pitied or despised or unloved by virtually everyone, including by his daughter who lives in his decrepit old house but with whom he rarely speaks. One evening, Loursat’s decades long stupor is suddenly shaken when he hears a gunshot, finds a murdered man in his home, and ...more
Oct 14, 2016 rated it liked it
This is one of Simenon's "romans durs," or "hard novels," an intimate exploration of a lawyer named Loursat who has essentially barricaded himself in his house for eighteen years after being abandoned by his wife. He drinks and reads books and cuts himself off from those around him, including his daughter, who was two when Loursat's wife left him. Loursat comes alive when he discovered that a murder has taken place in his house, and he uncovers a hidden life outside his padded study. He decides ...more
May 09, 2014 rated it liked it
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NYRB Classics: The Strangers in the House, by Georges Simenon 1 6 Oct 30, 2013 07:31PM  
  • Mouchette
  • The Child
  • The Mad and the Bad
  • Ride a Cockhorse
  • The Ferguson Affair
  • The Unpossessed
  • The Other House
  • Afloat
  • Sunflower
  • Count d'Orgel's Ball
  • Pages from the Goncourt Journals
  • Chaos and Night
  • Proud Beggars
  • What's for Dinner?
  • Unforgiving Years
  • Witch Grass
  • Niki: The Story of a Dog
  • Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky
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
“He had read endless books, he had digested them, pondered over them. Day by day, year after year, he had turned over all the problems of human beings. Yet there were all sorts of simple things he didn't know how to do: he couldn't even walk into an inn and sit down at a table.” 0 likes
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