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The Tenant

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  2,763 ratings  ·  282 reviews
The Tenant chronicles a harrowing, fascinating descent into madness as the pathologically 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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Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,763 ratings  ·  282 reviews

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Le locataire chimérique = The Tenant, Roland Topor
The Tenant (French: Le Locataire chimérique) is a novel by Roland Topor, a French illustrator, painter, writer and filmmaker. Originally published in France in 1964, The Tenant is the story of a Parisian of Polish descent, an exploration of alienation and identity, asking questions about how we define ourselves. A film was made after the book by Roman Polanski in 1976.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و سوم ماه فوریه سال 2008 میلادی
عنوان: مستاجر؛ نویس
Bill Kerwin
Feb 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: weird-fiction, gothic

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.)
Vit Babenco
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Tenant is somewhere between The Trial and The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and it is full of Kafkian anxieties and fears.
Instead of the sinister bureaucratic machine, there are wicked landlord and neighbours. And paranoia is capable to change anybody into anything.
‘I wonder what someone who could read my mind would think, if he were walking beside me now.’
This was a question he often asked himself. Occasionally, he would even play at making up problems for the unknown mind reader to solve. H
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Roland's The Tenant is a sort of ragged Mobius Strip of a tale whose structural boundaries are loosely marked by Joyce's Finnegan's Wake and the Twilight Zone.

At its heart, the work reflects the difficulty of coping with social pressures brought on by modernity and the situation of living in close quarters with others in an urban environment. Trelkovsky, the main focus of the novel, moves from his studio apartment to another apartment, which was once occupied by a Simone Choule, but had been va
The Tenant is Roland Topor's classic surreal novel of alienation, sexual frustration and downward spiral into insanity in a run down Parisian apartment complex on the rue des Pyrénées. Originally published in 1964, the novel has been adapted into film in 1976 by Roman Polanski - who also played the main character. I saw the film adaptation several years ago, but only now read the book - the film follows the novel closely, with only a few minor differences.

The Tenant tells the story of a man kno
Not a week ago a movie buff told me one of her favorite films is Polanski's The Tenant which I was only vaguely aware of and certainly ignorant of the book which it's based on. Yesterday, I coincidentally noticed another friend here on GR was reading the book and a quick glance at the plot was enough to get me interested. And this is pretty much the only reason I'm still a member here.

Now, I'm a big fan of surrealistic, mind-bending, psychological thrillers, so The Tenant hit home. It's as surre
May 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, best-reads
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
Oct 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Dec 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  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
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
I think those who appreciate Aickman, the more absurd Kafkaesque side of Ligotti as demonstrated in Teatro Grottesco and Camus's The Stranger will find a lot to like--I know I did. The 1966 translation I read was very fluid and natural. The style like the story itself begins unassumingly enough and gradually ends up where it does, with you--the reader--wondering: how did I (and Trelkovsky) end up here? Nice open-ended ending---is it purely psychological horror or something (even) more sinister? ...more
Review edited: 11/21/2016
"He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee."

Nancy Oakes
A stunner: dark, very well written, and it made my head spin almost all the way through.

I have made a long post at my reading journal; otherwise - below is just a summary:

In this book: alienation within the context of a repressive society; the attempts at imposed conformity and the persecution of the outsider -- extremely disturbing, but in the reading world, I love this stuff. Combine that with an eventual loss of self/identity under the auspices of those who want to define exactly who and wha
May 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
MJ Nicholls
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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)
Ben Loory
Dec 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ben by: Danielle Booth
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
Ben Winch
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Man, Roman Polanski had adapted this novel into a thriller in 1976! Trailers:,

The Tenant Analysis

The Tenant is not a masterpiece, but it has come so much closer to become one than many other lesser novels.

The story is one hell of a 'urban life nightmare' coming true! Talking about 'Neighbors From Hell', you have them all here in this book! But by the end of the story I am l
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
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
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
Georgina N
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
As a genre it may be considered as a horror book but for me if there was a category named "paranoia", this book would be typical. It had a quick flow and overall it was a good read BUT there is a reason behind my 4-star rating .

While the author managed in a few moments to give me the creeps ,there was no atmosphere to build the suspense on.So I got scared for a while without anticipating anything more to it.The change was too sudden and bordered on paranoia and fantasy and this is exactly why it
Acordul Fin
“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”.
This was pure mindfuck.
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
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
Feb 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2009
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
Dustin Reade
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First off, let me say that I have wanted to read this book for years, but could never find a copy for under sixty bucks. I finally found one and I bought it and started reading it the day it arrived, as if anyone cares.

This is a strange book, which is good, because I was HOPING it would be strange! haha! SUCCESS!
It involves a young man who moves into an apartment shortly after the previous tenant (a woman), leaps to her death from the apartment window.

Almost immediately, the neighbors start comp
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
This is why I would never live in an apartment building.
Jun 26, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I'm honestly surprised by the mass of high ratings for this one. I found it to be the first major disappointment of 2016 for me.

I previously ordered this little book (and it is little at only 137 pages), with the hopes of reading a seemingly-good, macabre, lesser-known tale of madness. What I came to find upon its conclusion was nothing but boredom and irritation. I began reading this on a train into the city, expecting a quick, disturbing read. I was into it in the barest sense by the time I wa
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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.

Roland Topor wrote the novel The Tenant (Le Locataire chimérique, 1964), which was adapted to film by Roman Polanski in 1976. The Tenant is the story of a Parisian of Polish descent,

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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.” 5 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” 5 likes
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