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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Neighbours meets Kafka, 25 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: The Tenant (Paperback)
This is a short novel written in 1966 and I presume set in that time in Paris. This is a paranoid drama based on a relatively simple premise of the insecurities of moving into a new tenancy.

I'm reluctant to give too much detail of the story because it would be too easy to say too much but here goes: Trelkovsky needs a new flat and finds one; his occupancy depends on the condition of the previous inhabitant, Simone, who lies ill in hospital having attempted suicide. He visits her and makes a mental connection with this bandaged victim and meets her friend Stella (whom he finds very attractive) at the bedside. Simone dies and Trelkovsky takes up residence, but all too quickly feels the paranoid pressures that may have driven Simone's actions (or was she murdered). How much is he paranoid, and just because he is doesn't mean the neighbours aren't out to get him? (that's the story to chapter 4 of 18). Problems start by the universal issue of noise through walls.

This is a strangely engrossing story; you do experience that certain `where's this going?' feeling. It's sinister but not horrific - there's no violence or gratuitous sex. The surreal `get a grip Trelkovsky' sensation haunts your thoughts as you read. There is one scene about cross dressing which I found too comical (I don't think this was intentional) and let down the dark, degenerate feel of the narrative.

This story is in many ways remarkably similar to `The Golem' (see my other reviews) reflecting a recursive nature of paranoia. This being a shorter and less detailed tale just isn't quite as good. It is a compact précis and worth a read but invest a little and read `The Golem' instead. I can't imagine it's worth paying too much for this book, don't think that high price x short novella = the bestest book. It's 3 stars overall.
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Location: UK

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