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Les Catilinaires

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  3,299 ratings  ·  186 reviews
Émile, ancien professeur de latin et de grec, se retire avec sa femme Juliette dans une maison paradisiaque, éloignée de tout, avec la certitude d'y couler des jours heureux. Au bout d'une semaine d'éblouissements et de bonheur absolu, voici qu'on sonne à la porte de leur thébaïde : c'est Palamède Bernardin, leur unique voisin, qui va prendre l'habitude de s'imposer ainsi ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 160 pages
Published June 11th 1997 by LGF (first published August 24th 1995)
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Average rating 3.60  · 
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 ·  3,299 ratings  ·  186 reviews

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Nov 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers of dark, psychological fiction
In The Stranger Next Door by Amélie Nothomb, childhood sweethearts, Emile and Juliette Hazel, married for 43 years, decide to abandon city life for an idyllic retirement in the country. They have a burning need for solitude, to become true free spirits liberated from "what men have made of life." And so, in true fairy tale fashion, they buy a cottage in the woods, a house covered in blue wisteria set near a river, and get ready to begin their golden years in peace and tranquility.

But then comes
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the 8th novel of Nothomb's I've read. While I always enjoy her works, some are obviously more entertaining/impressive to me than others. That being said, I LOVED this one. I've typically enjoyed her semi-autobiographical works more than just her stories, but this was definitely an exception. The story was amazing. It was short (like everything I've read by her) with very little background, consisting mainly of dialogue between a husband and wife, but I couldn't wait to finish it. Her des ...more
Jun 13, 2014 rated it liked it
More than anything this book is about pleasure. What makes us happy and what gives us pleasure? Are the 2 the same? Or can we have one without the other?

Emile and Juliette found the perfect home for their retirement. Everything seems to go perfect until their sanctum is bothered by their neighbour, Bernardin. Incredibly fat and rude, he tortures them 2 hours each day by coming to their house and sitting them without saying anything. Just looking uncomfortable and making the old couple feel the s
Jul 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
Odious protagonist, odious premise, odious life scheme. It started like an intriguing tale but it was just loathsome. Totally predictable, it did not challenge a sick world view held by the protagonist, it rather supports it. The pusillanimous and judgmental nature of the main character made , this very short book bore me and annoy me. I was waiting for the author to surprise with a completely different assessment of the situation but, alas! She seemed to endorse her despicable character’s views ...more
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-rl-bookshelf
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: weird, fiction
I loughed so hard !! Absolutely weird and hilarious.
William He
Apr 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finished this short novella in a week and I couldn't help laughing at Nothomb's brilliant descriptions of repulsive characters. The story revolves around two retired couple who move to the country side after finding the house of their dreams. Mr. Hazel, a retired high school teacher, and his wife moved away from the city to enjoy some peace and quiet in the winter. Everything was going swell until their dear neighbor comes in for a visit, then another visit, and then one every day. When push com ...more
Carol Rennie
Nov 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story was very captivating and flowed well. I read this in a few days, but could have read it in one day.

So Emile and Juliette buy a home about an hour out of town. They have a neighbour, a doctor, who comes to their house,without invitation, everyday from 4pm to 6pm without fail. Everyday Emile keeps letting him in, even though Juliette asks why? Emile cannot not answer the door.....the story continues.........

This is a great book when you want to read something easy, nothing greatly deep
Kirk Johnson
Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If Beckett copulated with Camus and gave birth to an easy moment, this might be the lovechild in their arms. The initial structure of the novel - similar to her first novel, Hygiene and the Assassin - is noticed immediately and one cannot fathom how the author will pull it off, but unlike that earlier novel she renders the whole story with aplomb. And while the writer's hand hovers over her usual finishing technique of the unexpected small noise maker, in the end she slides into her ending more ...more
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew this book was translated from French to English. I don't know much about the author, the book was a gift. It's really interesting and the musings of the main character, was interesting but the plot made me keep going. The plot. It was the plot. Interesting abstract read. ...more
Jan 12, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really don’t see the point of this kind of books. But my step mother in law likes them so I was curious... not anymore. It all makes sense now 🙄🤦‍♀️😂😂😂
Eule Luftschloss
Sep 11, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hetero, dnf, contemporary
trigger warning
(view spoiler)

We don't seem to get along anymore.
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
originally i thought i'd give the benefit of the doubt to the author for a possible translation muddle, but that is horribly unfair to the translator... the book had its moments, especially the build-up as the visits mounted, but then it just faded... not enough menace or weirdness or potentially devastating anything... maybe it is too cerebral of a tale, though that shortchanges me, and i'm a pretty smart reader, so i can say it wasn't that... just a disappointing book for me, more so if i thin ...more
May 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
I randomly picked this up at the library. It does feel literary, I guess. Absurdism that escalates to horror, à la Camus. Sometimes it worked. Overall, it felt forced. Neither the plot nor the musings of the narrator seemed to progress naturally. Much of it was gratuitous. The character carries on so much about fat and disabled people, I couldn't help but attribute that disgust (at least in part) to the author. I can't forgive it. ...more
Pearl Khurana
Mar 26, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'll just leave it at 1.5/5
I really don't see the point of such dark stories. Some points were highlights but again I'm no expert here. I haven't read anything so dispecable before tbh. Maybe I'll pick it up again when I start having black coffee or start understanding the French better. It was kinda good, I don't know. I'll leave it at being different. And dark. And nothing like I had read before. Ç'est tout.
Jul 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2011, french
Nothomb writes with so much insight and this story isn't any different. It deals with a couple who retire to the countryside to be on their own. There is only one house anywhere nearby. But when the doctor who lives there starts coming to visit between 4 and 6pm every day, it changes everything. The story is uncomfortable, psychological and excellent. I just didn't like it myself. ...more
AmberBug com*
The central character is a retired philosophy teacher and the book jumps right into the human psyche. I loved every word of this book and want to read everything by Northomb, although I don't know how many of her books have been translated into English from French. Her writing makes me contemplate learning French... that's how much I liked this book. ...more
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
I loved this novel. I read it in one day. I couldn't think that at my age; a writer can catch me with so much strength. This is a story about a peaceful retired couple that is acossed by a terrifying neighbor. Is a wonderful portrait of relationships in our current life. I loved it. It's funny; it's fresh; it's frightening... it's a complete work. ...more
May 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Weird, disturbing, excellent writing.

I did not appreciate this book as much as other books by Amelie Nothomb; the narrator is male, the relationship between the Emile and Juliette is both beautiful and unsettling, the description of the couple in the house nearby is unforgettably gross, and the ending reveals more about the character than even the character had known.

Apr 03, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A terrifically enjoyable read--right up till the last 10 pages. The plot's final development was sudden and unsatisfying. However, Nothomb is a fascinating writer, and I'm definitely going to try her again. ...more
Joel Land
Dec 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Read this in one sitting. Very fresh and interesting, the sort of writing I would like to produce. I was immediately inspired to go out and buy her most recently translated novel, "Hygiene and the Assassin." ...more
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a good book!just picked this one off the shelf without the usual research i put into picking books.Surprise!Great suspense,and 149 pages, busy readers who are fans of creepy,funny and suspenseful novels will enjoy this one!
Nov 10, 2012 rated it liked it
A couple moves to the countryside to escape people and find themselves and their perfect house invaded by a neighbour who makes daily visits and speaks as little as possible.
The book is entertaining (with a few attempts at philosophy), but not as clever as other Nothomb books.
Apr 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't AS blown away by this as by Métaphysique des tubes, mostly because I found the first half of the story much more compelling than the second. But Nothomb's mind is so supremely weird and fascinating, and I'm looking forward to how much of hers I have yet to discover. ...more
Jennifer Avila
A short, suitably creepy exploration of manners, decorum and the human condition. Nothomb’s novel is filled with suspense and humour. It’s on the list of IB texts in translation and isn’t the obvious choice; I think I’d have a lot of fun teaching this to my students.
May 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It,s one of those books that you never forget.
Mar 28, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kind of desturbing, a little aggrivating, bone chilling - for sure - but on the whole I enjoyed it. I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes the 'mental suffering' genre.
Apr 08, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick read, sort of odd. But enjoyable.
Peter Herrmann
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. Profound. But the profundity doesn't sink in until towards the end. ...more
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Amazing begining with a lot of humor, great story, easy to read.
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Amélie Nothomb, born Fabienne Claire Nothomb, was born in Etterbeek, Belgium on 9 July 1966, to Belgian diplomats. Although Nothomb claims to have been born in Japan, she actually began living in Japan at the age of two until she was five years old. Subsequently, she lived in China, New York, Bangladesh, Burma, the United Kingdom (Coventry) and Laos.
She is from a distinguished Belgian political fa

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