Tropic of Cancer

Tropic of Cancer Character List

Henry Miller

The protagonist/narrator. A writer struggling to make ends meet, but loving life in the process. Miller scrounges meals, relies on friends and strangers for money and shelter, lands the occasional job, and contemplates the paradisiacal “whore” that is Paris.


A young man in the diplomatic service whom Miller befriends. Fillmore gets engaged to a French woman named Ginette, then confides to Miller that he is miserable and needs to get out of the relationship.


A friend who lives in squalor, loves to complain, and puts Miller up for some time. A fellow expatriate and writer who proclaims that the world already has too many books.

Van Norden

Another friend of Miller’s, who is worried that he is considered only a “cunt-chaser.” He works at the newspaper for which Miller briefly serves as proofreader.


A woman who comes to visit Miller in Paris, and whom he remembers in a state of despondency. He seems to truly love her, and though he’d like to think of himself as free from the past, the memories of his relationship with her won’t let him go.


A friend who puts Miller up at the Villa Borghese. Modeled after Michael Fraenken, who reportedly inspired Miller to write Tropic of Cancer.


A prostitute with whom Miller had relations. He remembers her for her forthrightness and her lack of delicacy.


A wealthy woman in her forties to whom Carl and Miller write letters.


A sailor Fillmore and Miller go to visit in Le Havre one drunken weekend. He talks of returning to his ranch in Idaho.


A Russian "princess" who takes up with Miller and Fillmore.


The woman whom Fillmore knocks up and becomes engaged to.


Ginette’s friend, who tells Miller that Ginette is a liar and is scamming Fillmore.


A wealthy Hindu pearl merchant who puts Miller up for some time.


A Hindu man whose job it is to show other Hindu visitors around. He often takes his clients to the nearest brothel.


A woman who is in love with Miller. She leaves for Russia and then returns to Paris.


Tania’s beau, a playwright who is jealous of Miller.

Borowski, Cronstandt, Moldorf

Other expatriates.