The Strangers in the House

( 3 )

Overview

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-dilapidated mansion. But one night the sound of a gunshot penetrates the padded walls of Loursat?s study, and he...

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Overview

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-dilapidated mansion. But one night the sound of a gunshot penetrates the padded walls of Loursat’s study, and he is forced to investigate. What he stumbles on is a murder.

Soon Loursat discovers that his daughter and her friends have been leading a dangerous secret life. He finds himself strangely drawn to this group of young people, and when one of them is accused of the murder, he astonishes the world by taking up the young man’s defense.

In The Strangers in the House, Georges Simenon, master chronicler of the dark side of the human heart, gives us a detective story that is also a tale of an improbable redemption.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The greatest literary discovery I have made in recent time is Georges Simenon—his 'hard' novels, such as Dirty Snow and The Strangers in the House. So impressed was I by these books that I was determined to write one. The result is Christine Falls." —Benjamin Black (John Banville), Publishers Weekly

"Most of Simenon's novels are short, 200 pages or less, short enough to be read in one or two sittings. His style is spare but unusually potent. If you want to learn how to use adjectives - which is to say, with economy and precision - read Simenon. His skill at creating a sense of place is uncanny. When you finish The Strangers in the House, the memory of the dark and rainy streets of Moulins, the town where the story is set, stays with you palpably." —Philadelphia Inquirer

"This is not a Maigret but one of the French master's romans durs and is quite simply a masterpiece." —John Banville

“Attention should be paid to the New York Review of Books' continuing reissues of Georges Simenon. Simenon was legendary both for his literary skill–four or five books every year for 40 years–and his sexual capacity, at least to hear him tell it. What we can speak of with some certainty are the novels, which are tough, rigorously unsentimental and full of rage, duplicity and, occasionally, justice. Simenon's tone and dispassionate examination of humanity was echoed by Patricia Highsmith, who dispensed with the justice. So far, the Review has published Tropic Moon, The Man Who Watched Trains Go By, Red Lights, Dirty Snow and Three Bedrooms in Manhattan; The Strangers in the House comes out in November. Try one, and you'll want to read more.” –The Palm Beach Post

'A master storyteller ... Simenon gave to the puzzle story a humanity that it had never had before'–Daily Telegraph

"The most extraordinary literary phenomenon of the twentieth century." –Julian Symons

“The romans durs are extraordinary: tough, bleak, offhandedly violent, suffused with guilt and bitterness, redolent of place (Simenon is unsurpassed as a scenesetter), utterly unsentimental, frightening in the pitilessness of their gaze, yet wonderfully entertaining. They are also more philosophically profound than any of the fiction of Camus or Sartre, and far less self-conscious. This is existentialism with a backbone of tempered steel.”–John Banville, The New Republic

"This is what attracts and holds me in him. He writes for 'the vast public,' to be sure, but delicate and refined readers find something for them too as soon as they begin to take him seriously. He makes one reflect; and this is close to being the height of art; how superior he is in this to those heavy novelists who do not spare us a single commentary! Simenon sets forth a particular fact, perhaps of general interest; but he is careful not to generalize; that is up to the reader."–André Gide

“[Simenon] digs right inside his protagonists heads, in ways so specific that his characters have a forceful and very convincing individuality. He makes crime fascinating, even attractive.”–The Dominion Post (New Zealand)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590171943
  • Publisher: New York Review Books
  • Publication date: 10/24/2006
  • Series: New York Review Books Classics Series
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 466,120
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Georges Simenon (1903—1989) emerged as a writer in the 1930s, gaining renown for his detective stories featuring Inspector Maigret. He is no less famous for his psychological novels. New York Review Books has published revised translations of Simenon's most acclaimed romans durs, including Dirty Snow, Three Bedrooms in Manhattan, The Man Who Watched Trains Go By, Monsieur Monde Vanishes, Tropic Moon, and most recently, Red Lights.

P.D. James is the author of eighteen books. She served in the forensics and criminal justice departments of Great Britain’s Home Office, and she has been a magistrate and a governor of the BBC. In 2000 she published her autobiography, Time to Be in Earnest.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 7, 2014

    The Strangers in the House follows Loursat, a formerly respected

    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 discovers that his daughter has managed, to his amazement, to build a life for herself. Slowly, the events of that night begin to draw Loursat himself back toward life.

    The Strangers in the House is the first novel I’ve read by Georges Simenon, and I wouldn’t be surprised if, when I reach next January, it’s still the best novel that I’ve read for the year. Simenon’s style is direct and subtle. With the slightest of images, Simenon can open up a character’s inner world. I appreciated this plot, too. It’s a mystery, in a way, but it’s not any sort of procedural with the detective unturning and piecing together clues. Instead, it’s a psychological sort of mystery, with Loursat studying himself and the characters of those around him, to reach an understanding.

    In the end, I found the novel to be pretty well entirely satisfying. It’s a subtle mystery story. But more than that, I found the novel to be a rich, realistic, and oddly hopeful study of character. I’m already hooked on reading Simenon, but I’m not sure that I’ll enjoy any of his novels more than I did this one.

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  • Posted December 7, 2011

    Excellent!

    The prose of this translation is very good, a true joy to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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