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The Tenant And The Motive

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  108 ratings  ·  10 reviews
"The Tenant" and "The Motive" are two darkly humorous novels from the award-winning author of "Soldiers of Salamis". "The Tenant" is the mischievous story of Mario Rota, a linguistics professor whose life starts to unravel after he twists his ankle while out jogging one day. A rival professor appears, takes over his classes and bewitches his girlfriend. Where will Rota's n ...more
Paperback, 188 pages
Published May 2006 by Bloomsbury Publishing
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Jim Fonseca
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
These two novellas feature contrasting intellectual types and very different settings. In the first story, a visiting professor in the US fears he will be cut out of his teaching position by a newly-arrived outstanding scholar. It may serve him right since he tends to spend the time he should be researching an article for publication by going to cocktail parties, watching TV and drinking Chablis. In the other story, an author living in a Spanish apartment house is a workaholic, setting himself a ...more
Jan 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Dark humor pervades these 2 novellas. In The Tenant, Mario Rota,a linguistics professor twists and sprains his ankle while he is out for a run and from that moment, his life spirals out of control. He returns home to find a new tenant moving into the apartment across the hall, who turns out to be a reknown linguistics professor (just not known to him). He goes to work the next day and finds this new professor not only working at the same University, but has apparently taken 2 of his courses, bee ...more
Anna Baillie-Karas
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Two novellas by Cercas (whose novel Soldiers of Salamis I want to read). In one, a university professor (the tenant of the title) fears he is being replaced by a new academic who shows up his failings. It made me want to read The Double by Dostoevsky, which I think has a similar theme. In The Motive a writer obsessively watches his neighbours to gain material for a novel, but takes things too far. Witty and spare, I liked these and the somewhat abstract plots reminded me a little of Murakami.
Feb 08, 2015 rated it did not like it
Two pointless, amateurish novellas. In the first one, a dull, lazy and oafish university professor fantasizes about being replaced in his job and even in his girlfriend's bed by a cleverer guy. Well, that's what tends to happen in universities, and in life in general. Why such a fate hasn't already overtaken the protagonist is what's not clear. The second story is an even more painful performance, trying as it does to venture on the same terrain as Borges. Again, the protagonist is an idiot, who ...more
Mary Burns
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is the first I have read by Cercas. Wow, what intelligence. Apparently he wrote these novellas before his renown Soldiers of Salamis, and to me it was obvious, particularly in The Motive, that he was exploring the role of the storyteller himself. Life informs literature, but can literature.. a developing story... change the course of the lives that inspired it? Can writing about a person be the moral equivalent of killing them? Fascinating, as was the, was this all a dream surprise, bu ...more
Mar 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Two semi-interesting novellas that trade on the space between fantasy and mental illness. The first story concerns a floundering academic who loses a week to either a psychotic episode or a magical trip to a parallel universe. In the second story a misogynist author spies on his fellow tenants to manipulate a murder. Though not totally satisfying, there was enough to keep me reading and at least in the case of the first story develop some empathy for the main character.
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very dear friend of mine recommended Cercas to me after he saw my admiration over Marias. Must say I still find the later much more enjoyable, allthough I really liked these two short novels, "The motive" more so. Certainly reading that motivates you to discover author further more. So I guess "Soldiers of Salamis" will be on my book table soon. ...more
Marie Grassick
Jun 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Bit boring really - just got fed up but worked my way through. Will admit it was well written - just not my cup of tea
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Javier Cercas Mena (Ibahernando, provincia de Caceres, 1962) es un escritor y traductor español.

Hijo de un veterinario rural, cuando contaba cuatro años, en 1966 su familia se trasladó a Tarragona, y allí estudió con los jesuitas. Es primo carnal del político Alejandro Cercas. A los quince años la lectura de Jorge Luis Borges le inclinó para siempre a la escritura. En 1985 se licenció en Filología

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