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


Miller starts out in the world of porn, a world in which (99% of the time) a man is lust incarnate and a woman is never a woman but only a "bitch," a "cunt," a "whore," a "piece of ass," a "lady" (rarely and temporarily), and so on. The book mostly consists of men discussing women in these terms, and women obliging their sexual desires, with appropriate submission. One woman is never excited by watching a man piss, but is terribly excited by a man climbing on top of her and pissing inside her. By the end of the book, however, Miller reveals a level of self-consciousness that cannot belong to pornography, or to "erotica." Miller displays an understanding of his subjectivity, of male subjectivity and weakness, of sheer vulnerability, that undermines anything approaching the fantasy of pornography and the sensuality of erotica (not that the book is ever really erotic in my understanding of the term). Moreover, Miller makes it awfully clear that from his point of view being "nothing but a cunt," an object of carnal pleasure, is not something that demands contempt, but something that he desires, that he even aspires to. There is certainly sexism in this book-- a lost fifteen year old girl is used as a station of sexual relief for males with zero irony or moral doubt, for just one example-- but there is little, maybe no misogyny. So the book, as a whole, is not porn. If it is, it's pretty bad porn. Dudes might get a few cheap thrills early on, and certain sorts of gals might dig the sheer magnitude of male lust on display, but you can't exactly jerk off to this stuff. And as I said, it's not erotic in the way I'd define erotic. It's not sensual or really human enough to be erotic. Miller quietly undoes and undermines any potential, I think, for this book to be either of those two things. So Quiet Days in Clichy is literary, and not a ridiculous artifact of misogyny. But it's not really good literature. For one thing, the sex is described in pretty laughable prose. For another, the book is excessively, at times intolerably, bohemian in the worst sense. Its world is a world in which catching and spreading the clap is far better than simply living a quiet and comfortable life. To me, beatitude (in this context) is about more than pursuing the lifestyle depicted here. It's also about finding some kind of gutter enlightenment. I think that Miller writes very well of the emotional struggles of being human, of the pleasures of satisfying one's carnal appetites, of living outside convention. I think he's an interesting guy I'd like to have conversed with. The ultimate world of this novel is mostly immature and sad and pretty ugly. I honestly, totally unironically think that great literature ought to be wise in some way. There's little real wisdom here, only baby steps toward that end. But those steps are valuable and sometimes beautiful. There's around half a great book here. A few bonus points for authenticity and balls.

حمد المطر

تستحق 4 نجوم. لكني اسقطت نجمة للاباحية المبالغ فيها التي تملأ العمل تماماً. العمل لا اعلم سبب كتابته فعلا. كاتبان منحطان فعلا كل رذيلة اباحية مع كل امرا قابلاها بفرنسا. يكتبان وينفقان المال على العاهرات وهكذا دواليك بعبثية غريبة. غالبا هذا حال الكثير من الفنانين وغيرهم.نقول المفيد. سرد ميللر خارق للعادة. مدرسة. عبارات قصيرة كل عبارة فيها الجديد والجاذب للقراءة وتسارع النوفيلا الرواية القصيرة. ساقرا له مدار الجدي

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.

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.


I always enjoy Henry Miller. Here's a passage that I liked: "There are hotels in the side streets leading off the boulevard whose ugliness is so sinister that you shudder at the thought of entering them, and yet it is inevitable that you will one day pass a night, perhaps a week or a month, in one of them. You may even become so attached to the place as to find one day that your whole life has been transformed and that what you once regarded as sordid, squalid, miserable, has now become charming, tender, beautiful."


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.


How come someone didn't tell me about Henry Miller a long, long time ago? I'm 31, fer chrissakes. With my lifestyle, I could already be dead by now. You guys know I like to read stories about guys who get it on with a series of beautiful or at least easy women. They give me hope. And Henry Miller, apparently, is the master of the form. Like a more literary (but still enjoyable) Tucker Max. Quiet Days in Clichy probably isn't even one of his best books. Tropic of Cancer was recommended to me in a dark, nasty corner of the Internets where I found some of the other books I've read recently, but it was either prohibitively expensive or not available in the format I needed. They were pretty much giving Clichy away, on the other hand. I thought it was a really good deal, but it turns out it's only about an afternoon worth of reading. Maybe a few afternoons, if you work for a living.



Scribble Orca

Miller, Miller, hand on ballWho's the most sexist of them all?Henry Miller polarises. He's been described through the gamut of adjectives encompassing utterly scathing to gloriously idolising, not the least because of his blank disregard for publishing proprieties and reader sensibilities, which, depending on which end of the spectrum you choose to sit, mean you either laud or loathe him.He commences Quiet Days in Clichy with a spare prose, an insightful prose, at times even a melodiously lyrical prose, which, while interesting, valuable and a self-inflicted necessary part of my reading experience, does not inspire me to go in search of more of his works. I suppose you could say I've scratched my itch, we've had our fling, and Henry - it was nice knowing you but you were never going to be more than the curious affair of the dilettante in the nighttime, another notch in my totem pole of writers to be savoured but not sainted.Because for all the gems of wit, the wayward little asides, the rawness of emotion and the peering he affords into his soul, Henry Miller re-scribing in his mid years this semi-bio glimpse of a younger life in Paris as a destitute writer re-confirms and demonstrates a truly hideous objectification of women, of his muses, his lusts, his toys, his objets du desir, his vessels, his fucks-for-the-sake-of-fucking and nothing-to-do-with-art's-sake holes-in-one, when not in two. He reveals a terrible impoverishment of spirit in how he describes his slam-bangs and piss-insides. He simply doesn't see members of the opposite sex as anything other than tools for his own tool, grist for his mill, fodder to be cudded ad infinitum.All true in stark, monochromatic form, until page eighty-one of Quiet Days in Clichy, when Miller is revealed in subtle, water-colour tones and his story in deft, mostly gentle, even heart-rending, prose both assured and vivid, no longer a newspaper reporter's brutal rendition of action but a mature reflection of scene and character, thought and deed. The latter third of the book shows a sensitivity, an empathy, a willingness to understand himself in the context of women, rather than them in the context of himself; he admits even to that most treacherous and debilitating of emotions: love, both consummated, forsaken, and finally, remorsefully, with the remembrance of too little, too late, eternally a promise of what might have been.To call him misogynistic is as crudely misunderstanding of his attitude towards women as is labelling his work pornography. In the earlier part of Quiet Days in Clichy he indicates no hatred, no desire to abuse, demean or belittle, simply an inability to imagine or acknowledge the personness of women, the validity of their (and his own) feelings, all he can grasp is a reality in which women are not conceived as anything other than receptacles for his own grace, he is constrained to acknowledge them in relation to himself. Monstrously egotistical, but falling short of misogyny.In the latter part of the book he eviscerates himself, he bleeds emotion, and in the sense of trailing after an illusion, women are a figure on a pedestal which remains forever beyond his reach; he has been enthralled, burned, made aware of the needs of the other and learned, by that experience, of the depth of his own. Women still represent a challenge, a trophy, an object to be acquired and enjoyed, but they are no longer mere things, puppets to be bought and traded on the whim of a moment, but forays into the vast unknown of the human soul, who can wreak havoc or dismiss him with the ease of flicking ash from a burning Gauloises.

Chris Freeman

Do people really live like this? Having random sex with prostitutes and girls that they treat like prostitutes? I don't think any female character in this book was treated like an actual human being. And they all seemed willing to spread their legs at any time. Henry Miller goes for it, though, and makes the two main male characters fairly round and three-dimensional. More so than I would have thought for womanizing scumbags. This book is not so much about a plot as it is describing some time spent in Paris. Sort of like sitting around hearing stories from a friend. Amazingly dirty stories that I've never heard from any of my friends. It is told in a nice casual tone, but sometimes the out-dated slang is funny when it's not supposed to be. For instance, "...pushed it in another notch or two. Then bango! it burst like a sky rocket." Also, I've never said "boobies" seriously when describing breasts. The dream sequence is totally worth it. Wonderful writing.


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.

Caitlin Creevy

Henry Miller is my most hated writer. Sir, I'm glad you had a chance to bang so many chicks. Very radical.

Abu Hasan

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


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.


إما أن تتقبل هنري ميللر كما هو فيروق لك و تجد نفسك من أنصاره الذين يهتفون بحماسة و دون حياء أو تبغضه إلى الأبد و تعاديه دونما هوادة و تصب اللعنات - كل اللعنات - على هذا الوغد . راقت لي بعض التعليقات في الموقع من بعض القراء الأجانب حيث كانت إحداهن منصفة إلى أبعد حد حين قالت أنه لا شك كاتبٌ رائع و إن بدا خنزيراً . هناك رأي آخر يتسائل لماذا لا يقلع الجميع عن قراءة هنري و هو الذي لا يتخلى عن البذاءات و سردها بكل الطرق البشعة و مع ذلك يلاقي نجاحاً مسعوراً - إن صح التعبير - و علل ذلك بصوته السردي البارع و العفوي جداً . العنوان مضلل بالمناسبة أو أن ميللر يقصد الهدوء الذي لا بد أن يعقب الصخب ! ليس ثمة الكثير من الأحداث و هذه عادة لم يقلع عنها الكاتب أبداً و عشاق الحبكات الروائية على موعد مع خيبة كبيرة إن ترقبوا شيئاً من هذا القبيل . و الكتاب فيه كاتبان يقدسان حياة اللهو و الشراب فاليوم خمر و غد ٌ كذلك و ما بعد الغد و على مدار الأسبوع الأول و الثاني و الثالث و من الواضح أن امرؤ القيس كان سيصبح صديقهما المفضل . لا شيء سوى أصناف النبيذ و العاهرات ! تقريباً لا شي آخر . هذا يدعو للتقزز غير أن للحقيقة زوايا أخرى من الممكن أن تصنع فارقاً فاللغة هنا تصلح كل ما أفسده الكاتب عن عمد . و لعلني أقتبس ما يوضح الفكرة بشكل أكبر . " إن كارل عبقري في التورط بالمشاكل . كانت المشكلة أو ربما الفضيلة أنه لا يستطيع أن يقول لا . إن معظم الناس يقولون على الفور لا ، بدافع غريزي أعمى أما هو فيقول نعم باستمرار . إنه يعيش حياته بدافع اللحظة و لا يتوقف عن مغازلة الخطر لا بدافع الشجاعة بل لأن ذلك يمنحه فرصة لشحذ ذكائه ! "

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