Across the Street

3.63 avg rating
( 92 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780151032662: Across the Street

A woman nearing middle age suffers from loneliness as she lives vicariously through the lives of her neighbors. By the author of Donadieu's Will.

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From Publishers Weekly:

First published in French in 1945, the late Simenon's small gem of a novel is the claustrophobic tale of a solitary, unbalanced Parisian woman who lives vicariously through her neighbors, on whom she spies obsessively. Dominique watches through the shutters as one sick neighbor dies just after his wife is late in giving him medicine. Dominique weaves fantasies around the widow, her domineering mother-in-law and her secret mulatto lover, sending her anonymous notes that read, "You killed your husband." Dominique's other obsession is her tenants, a young couple whose lovemaking she observes through a keyhole. These newlyweds occupy the room where Dominique had tended to her invalid, hard-drinking father, a retired general who died seven years earlier. Simenon posits Dominique's existence as a paradigm of the life unlived: "a brief, unconscious childhood, a short adolescence, then emptiness, tangles of troubles . . . and then, so soon, at forty, the feeling of being old. . . ." He invests Dominique with an unshakable dignity even as he probes her existential failure as one for whom the past and her fantasy life count at least as much as the present.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

One of Simenon's penetrating psychological studies (Donadieu's Will, etc.), first published in 1945 in France. It examines the barren, impoverished life of Dominique, a general's gently bred daughter, now 40, who had nursed her demanding father in his last years. Through a relative's charity, she occupies a Paris apartment, part of which she rents to the Cailles, a young married couple. Her meager assets allow for no frivolity, and her days are spent doing mundane chores; spying, shamefaced, on her vibrant tenants; and, through her window, watching the life of the Rouets in the apartment opposite. The elder Madame Rouet is endlessly at war with her sickly son's vivacious wife Antoinette. Dominique is a secret witness to the son's dramatic death and to Antoinette's ensuing struggles to escape the stifling household. What happens when Antoinette finally moves out and the Cailles leave for larger quarters carries an air of inevitability.... A somber story marked by the author's acute perceptions of human nature and his lean, elegant writing style. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Georges Simenon
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