Quiet Days in Clichy

ISBN: 080213016X
ISBN 13: 9780802130167
By: Henry Miller

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About this book

This tender and nostalgic work dates from the same period as Tropic of Cancer (1934). It is a celebration of love, art, and the Bohemian life at a time when the world was simpler and slower, and Miller an obscure, penniless young writer in Paris. Whether discussing the early days of his long friendship with Alfred Perles or his escapades at the Club Melody brothel, in Quiet Days in Clichy Miller describes a period that would shape his entire life and oeuvre.

Reader's Thoughts

Abu Hasan

أعتقد أن العنوان ينبغي أن يكون (أيام داعرة في كليشي) فهو يعكس مضمون الكتاب بدقة بعكس العنوان الخادع

Unbridled

Henry's books are a pleasure to revisit. It is odd how one returns to Henry's books - hundreds of books later, their flaws are even more obvious, but so too is the tenderness, the rawness, the humor, the story - and above all, the genius. Never before and never again have we had an American writer quite like Henry. To be sure there have been plenty of imitators, plenty of ecstatic admirers, and an equal number of closeted admirers - but heirs? No. Geniuses? No. America seems to breed a lot of brilliance, but only the very rare genius - but I suppose that is true of every country. What will you find if you read this book rather than Tropic of Cancer or Sexus or another, greater Miller book? The etchings of a serial exaggerator, boaster, satyr, saint - sure, the book won’t glow on the shelf, but you’ll read it and smile, read it and muse, and you’ll be the better person for it. In my opinion, the second half, Mara-Marignon, is the better story.

Cornfed

Awful.

Jeffrey

This novel was pretty much a different setting for a smaller version of Tropic of Cancer. It was quite short and a slightly easier read.

Robert

When I noticed this book in the used book store, I picked it up, randomly turned to page 35 and read:"She bent down and gave me a kiss on both cheeks. As she did so her boobies fell out and brushed my face."What grown man says "boobies?" This is Arthur Miller for Christs Sakes!

Shauna

Quiet Days in Clichy is like a little taste of the most mediocre and vile portion of Tropic of Cancer. I kept waiting for a moment of bright clarity, an original event, ANYTHING -- and then it was over. There were of course a few good lines, a couple of pertinent observations, but it jumped directly into a rough-and-ready sexual encounter with a prostitute; it didn't build upon this ...it was just one hooker after the next, with none of the blazing philosophical rants that made Tropic of Cancer a thing of beauty. I'll keep reading Miller, but this was (I hope) a bump in the road.

Henry Martin

Quiet Days in Clichy - there is nothing quiet about Miller's days in Clichy. Henry Miller is my 'one author who affected me the most' (and I am not using the word influenced on purpose). I've read and reread his novels countless times, always finding new meanings, hidden messages, obscure sentences that burst forth with life. Miller has the power to pick me up when I'm down, the power to make me laugh when I'm sad, the power to see beauty in our messed-up world. Why? Because his works are full of life; life unrestricted, untamed, like pure blood just drawn and spilled all over the pages while still warm. That's Miller for me. Quiet Days in Clichy chronicles a period of about one year. As usual, Miller is broke, sharing an apartment with his friend, who in this book goes by the name of Carl (Alfred Perles, an excellent author himself). In Miller's own words: "When I think of this period, when we lived together in Clichy, it seems like a stretch in Paradise. There was only one real problem, and that was food. All other ills were imaginary. I used to tell him so now and then, when he complained about being a slave. He used to say that I was an incurable optimist, but it wasn't optimism, it was the deep realization that, even though the world was busy digging its grave, there was still time to enjoy life, to be merry, carefree, to work or not to work." This statement, is straightforward Miller if you never read him. Miller, throughout his books and most of his actual life, has had problems with money, or rather the lack of money. As for being an incurable optimist? - no, Miller was not an optimist, he was a man who has lived life to the fullest, tasting all and baring nothing. If you are familiar with his books, you know it wasn't always easy. "It was a period when cunt was in the air." Did I forget to mention that Miller was awfully honest when it came to matters of sex? Most of his works have an underlying sexual motif, a presence of sorts. Some more than others, and Quiet Days in Clichy is of the former category. While many call Miller obscene and even go as far as calling his books pornographic, I've never felt this way. Miller's sex scenes and encounters are spread throughout his work in a matter-of-fact way. He assigns them no importance beyond their occurrences and their consequences. His sexual encounters (while prolific) just happen, so to speak. Here now, tomorrow... It would be foolish to deny that sex played an important role in Miller's life and in his writing, but his writing of sex is not meant to arouse or to provoke, it just is. Sort of like Bukowski's drinking - it just is. This short novella has a surprising amount of crazy encounters in it. Knowing that during this period Miller was writing my favorite book of all time, Black Spring, helps put things into perspective. There is sex peppered throughout the pages, but the sex itself is of no importance. The encounters, however, are. The people Henry and Carl encounter are all rather interesting, their interactions almost psychotic. Especially the episode which results in their departure to Luxembourg. Here, we are offered a different side of Miller. Instead of the carefree, jovial Miller tasting all life has to offer, here, he sounds more like Miller in New York. He's discontent, "...observing the quiet, dull life of a people which has no reason to exist, and which in fact does not exist, except as cows or sheep exist." and "All they were concerned about was to know on which side their bread was buttered. They couldn't make bread, but they could butter it." And despite finding beauty in the Pfaffenthal, "A thousand years' peace seemed to reign over this somnolent vale. It was like a corridor which God had traced with his little finger, a reminder to men that when their insatiable thirst for blood had been appeased, when they had become weary of strife, here they would find peace and rest."He compares Luxembourg to the gray city he dislikes so very much, "Luxembourg is like Brooklyn, only more charming and more poisonous." "Better to die like a louse in Paris than live here on the fat of the land..."Upon arrival back in Paris, Miller states: "Better a good venereal disease than a moribund peace and quiet. Now I know what makes the world civilised: it's vice, disease, thievery, mendacity, lechery. Shit, the French are a great people, even if they are syphilitic. Don't ever ask me to go to a neutral country again. Don't let me look at any more cows, human or otherwise. I was that peppery I could have raped a nun."What comes next is an insanely exaggerated scene where sex takes over and all boundaries cease to exist. Cheating a whore by giving her an uncovered check is not anything to be proud off, but Henry and Carl put on quite a show to disguise the fact that the check is bad. This episode, while seemingly unimportant brings to what I consider the best in Miller's writing - the words that resurface in Black Spring. "Head rolls off table-head rolls off...little man on wheels...wheels...legs...millions of legs..."The surreal, creative Miller takes over here. This is the Miller I love. The sex scenes end, and he retires with this: " I got off my ass, yawned, stretched, staggered to the bed.Off like a streak. Down, down, to the cosmocentric cesspool. Leviathans swimming around in strangely sunlit depths. Life going on as usual everywhere. Breakfast at ten sharp. An armless, legless man bending bar with his teeth. Dynamic falling through the stratosphere. Garters descending in long graceful spirals. A woman with a gashed torso struggling desperately to screw her severed head on. Wants money for it. For what? She doesn't know for what. Just money. Atop umbrella fern lies a fresh corpse full of bullet holes. An iron cross is suspended from its neck. Somebody is asking for a sandwich. The water is too agitated for sandwiches. Look under S in the dictionary!"This reminds me I'll have to revisit Black Spring soon. Overall, Miller's narrative in this novella is what one would expect from Miller. Being an early book, it appears as if he is holding back a bit, but not enough to be politically correct.

Jason

this is a book about limbo. Not the kind you'd typically expect. It's a dusty saga through the white legs of limbo, as henry miller cuts into prostitute after prostitute during the rainy days of Clichy. It is like watching someone play horseshoes. There are only two things you can do on a rainy day, as the saying goes, and the whores never wasted time playing cards.I thought this book was alright. Miller does get to stretch his verbal abilities, but this isn't Black Spring. This book is not a revolution, but very much so a reflection. It is an old man looking tastily back on the flesh of lazy days and thinking why didn't i grasp the ground more and sing i won't leave. When i think about this period, when we lived together in Clichy, it seems like a stretch in Paradise. There was only one real problem, and that was food...There is an amazing scene where Miller donates all of his money to a weeping prostitute then comes home ravenous and begins chewing the bones and moldy bread out of the garbage,...All other ills were imaginary. I used to tell him so now and then, when he complained about being a slave. He used to say i was an incurable optimist, but it wasn't optimism, it was the deep realization that, even though the world was busy digging its grave, there was still time to enjoy life, to be merry, carefree, to work or not to work.He goes throuhg woman after woman after woman and what is accomplished? Nothing. It is like an old man with a metal detector on the beach, combing it scrupulously and finding glee over rusted copper shards. Like business, Miller contents himself with the meaningless absurdity of pleasure, which he finds in fountains, in slews, in Clichy::'And what would you do with yourself to pass the time away?' I once asked.'What would i do?' she repeated in astonishment. 'I would do nothing. I would just live.'What an idea! What a sane idea!It's true. He may be cruel to women, he may be overly sexually exploiting and objectifying, but that is his dirty business. It is his charming outside prison that--like mafia novels or espionage novels or horror novels--expunges an indulgence and does so with jelly on the chin. This is his limbo, being forced to eat at a buffet all day. He doesn't really characterize anyone. All of his women are whores, his men are cartoons. They spin up the streets as goddesses or pollute the canteen as moths:The rosy glow which suffused the place emanated from the cluster of whores who usually congregated near the entrance. As they gradually distributed themselves among the clientele, the place became not only warm and rosy but fragrant. They fluttered about in the dimming light like perfumed fireflies. Those who had not been fortunate enough to find a customer would saunter slowly out to the street, usually to return in a little while and resume their old places. Others swaggered in, looking fresh and ready for evening's work.It's by far not Miller's best work and shows his age and distance in how dreamy and sedate it is. I like Miller less when he talks about rosy cunts and more when he talks about time travel. It's a distinct possibility he wrote this book because he was horny and he needed to exorcise his demons.

Mel Bossa

There are some great passages and at times the prose is stunning, but over all, this little book didn't rock my world as Tropic of Cancer did. I will pick up Tropic of Capricorn next time instead.However, Carl, Miller's writer friend and foe, is definitely a favorite of mine. I know a guy like that. Maybe we all do.Anyway, for anyone wanting to meet Miller for the first time, I wouldn't start with this novel.

Lauren Smith

Talented and unabashedly debaucherous, Joey (a fictionalised Miller) and his roommate Carl mostly seem to spend their ‘quiet days in Clichy’ either writing or fucking. Every woman in these two stories exist entirely as sex objects for Joey and Carl, and almost all of them are ready and willing to spread their legs, for money or lust, and occasionally with utter indifference.Normally, this would lead me to rip the story to shreds for its sexism, but I was completely swayed by Miller’s brilliant writing. There isn’t much of a plot here and there are no admirable (or perhaps even likeable) characters, but I devoured every word. It makes me feel like the parents of Colette, the 15-year old runaway waif who gets taken in by Carl and Joey and becomes their “Cinderella, concubine and cook”. When Colette’s parents eventually find her they naturally want a word with Carl about his illicit relationship with their daughter. But upon finding out that he and Joey are writers who study the likes of Proust and Goethe, they are instantly placated and decide not to press any charges. As Carl interprets it, “The French have a great respect for writers, you know that. A writer is never an ordinary criminal”.In the same way, the artistry of Miller’s writing makes me forgive, and in fact, thoroughly enjoy the depravity of his content. Should I feel a bit guilty, or perhaps deceived about this? I don’t know, but oh, what a great read!Read more reviews on my blog Violin in a Void

Tristy

Oh Henry, you naughty naughty devil, you...

مصطفى درويش

كتاب حجمه صغير ..طبعة منشورات الجمل.ترجمة خالد الجبيلي.أول مرة أٌقرأ لميللر بعدما كنتُ أقرأ عنه. الكاتب يتميز بأسلوب سرد مميز يجعلك تنساب بين الصفحات بينما لاتشعر بقيمة الوقت.لكنه داعر !في الحقيقة أنا لا أقبل بالدعارة ممثلة في أي كتاب .. لا أرى سببًا في توصيف لقاء جنسي بتفاصيله.. الأمر لن يفيد في شيئ في نظري، ويسيئ إلى فن الكتابة عندي.المهم أن الكتاب ينكون من فصليّن .. وأفضل ماراق لي فيهما نهاية الفصل الأول. وسأقرأها مرة أخرى بتأن.بعدما فرغت من الكتاب الذي تكلم عن النساء أكثر مما تكلم عن أي شيئ آخر سألتُ نفسي بعض الأسئلة.. لماذا لم يتحدث الكاتب عن أثر هذه الفترة عليه وبما كان يشعر أو عن أحلامه ثم يعرج على هذه التفاصيل (الخراء) كعارض أنهكه وأنهك أمواله التي أنفقها على العاهرات !وسؤال آخر: لما قدم المترجم لترجمة عمل كهذا؟!يعني ما الفائدة التي يراها؟!.لدي كتابيّن لميللر .. ولن أقرر بعد هل سأكمل في مطالعة أعماله أم لا !فإن كان نهج كتابته فيهما كهذا.. فلا أعتقد أني سأقترب منه كثيرًا في جانب الإستمتاع بالأدب، اللهم إلا كان لنقد أو أمور أخرى.

Benjamin

I thought, while spending a year overseas, I would read books about people who were living far from home. I was reading "Shogun", but after a few weeks, I needed a break from James Clavell's straight-forward, no-frills prose. So, I thought I would give Henry Miller a try. (Going from 1600s Japan to 20th century Paris would be a fun shift, too.)I had started Miller's "Tropic of Cancer" years ago, but never got more than 50 pages into it because it was just so dense with philosophy, dream-like imagery, and Miller's devil-may-care personality. At the time, I just wasn't in the mood for it, but thought I'd give it another go, figuring it would be a good antidote to the plot-rich/poetry-weak book I had been reading. Unfortunately, "Tropic" wasn't available on Kindle, so I thought I'd go with this book, which some reviewers had said was an easier read than his more famous work. This was a true assessment. This was an easy read, and I finished the book in less than a week, but there's not much to it. Some nice writing from time to time, but hardly the dense poetic ruminations I had hoped to find. Instead, this book is really just some meandering memories of women (most of them prostitutes) by some expat American author. There are some vivid moments throughout, a nice essay on the color gray, and a fun dream sequence at the end of the 1st half, but it all amounts to a fairly forgettable read of booze, smut, a couple interesting characters, and no-regrets glibness.

Mark McKenna

I would put a spoiler alert up here, but does anyone NOT know what they're going to find in a Henry Miller novel? Well, if you don't . . ."Quiet Days in Clichy" is Miller's tale of being young in Paris in the 30s, a tale he re-worked and published in 1956. It's the usual raconteur's delight of meals, whores, sex, spiritual insight, mysticism and scenery that makes Henry Miller Henry Miller. Miller was famously dissected by Kate Millet in her 1970 book "Sexual Politics" -- torn to shreds, with each shred pinned like a butterfly -- and people STILL like reading him. Women included.So why?As a writer I'm going to say it's his voice.Voice is the hardest and the most subtle element of writing to teach, to understand, or to accomplish -- and he just had it. He wrote with an ease; he went from scene to scene in such a natural way that people just like reading him. I would compare his writing to Isaac Singer's in that way (and that way only). Additionally, there's the outrageous sexual point of view present in Miller's writing, a POV that still has power in our age, as "sex workers" form unions. Isaac Singer? So where's Henry's Nobel Prize? (Ahh, I guess it's too late now.)ps. If you like Henry Miller track down a photograph of him taken in Big Sur. It shows him playing ping pong, naked, with two beautiful naked young women. Not salacious; it might make you smile.

Simone

I first read Quiet Days in Clichy 20 years ago. Recently, I found a used copy on the street for a couple of bucks (an older edition featuring the essay World of Sex as a back up story) so I thought, what the hell, I will re-read it. The title is an obvious joke, Clichy being far removed from quiet. Miller is his usual filthy self, regaling of with tales of being out on the prowl with "Carl," merrily drinking in bars, sex with hookers, all the while being flat broke. Surely a great degree is exaggerated, or overly romanticized, but who cares. And as always, there exists a backdrop of highly literary discussions. I started reading Henry Miller when I was 15. Probably warped my brain & sexuality at that tender age. No matter though, I love Henry Miller.

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