The remarkable renaissance of Patricia Highsmith continues with the publication of Patricia Highsmith: Selected Novels and Short Stories, featuring the groundbreaking novels Strangers on a Train and The Price of Salt as well as a trove of penetrating short stories. With a critical introduction by Joan Schenkar, situating Highsmith’s classic works within her own tumultuous life, this book provides a useful guide to some of her most dazzlingly seductive writing. Strangers on a Train, transformed into a legendary film by Alfred Hitchcock, displays Highsmith’s genius for psychological characterization and tortuous suspense, while The Price of Salt, with its lesbian lovers and a creepy PI, provides a thrilling and highly controversial depiction of “the love that dare not speak its name”. This book firmly establishes Highsmith’s centrality to American culture by presenting key works that went on to influence half a century of literature and film. Abandoned by the wider reading public in her lifetime, Highsmith finally gets the canonical recognition that is her due.
©2011 Diogenes Verlag AG, Zurich; 1993 by Diogenes Verlag AG, Zurich; Introduction 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Patricia Highsmith’s novels are peerlessly disturbing…bad dreams that keep us thrashing for the rest of the night.” (New Yorker)
This collection of stories and novels were unpleasant listening. Stilted, overly sad and terribly dark. I agree with another reviewer that they entered the creepy zone--and not in a good way. Recommended only if you are looking for an exploration of Noir sadness--otherwise I'd avoid. Depressing.
I wanted to read Strangers on a Train because I love the noir film classic based on this book. It was interesting because Patricia Highsmith is a master at painting the slow downward spiral, the menace in the every-day, and the grim experience of late stage alcoholism (note to self: it does not look like fun). But it needs editing. The same scenes repeat themselves too often and the protagonist goes over the same ground and comes to the same decisions over and over again. The book just doesn't get down to business and go where it's going. By the end I was weary enough of the story that I didn't much care how it came out.
I didn't care for Bronson Pinchot's reading. In trying to produce southern accents he made the southerners sound bored - not southern. Also, he used a particular lilting drag for the bad guy, the faithful woman, and the private eye. These are all very different characters who should have to some extent their own voices, or at least not the same odd drawn-out way of speaking that makes them blend together. And I wish men readers would just read women's voices normally - Pinchot, like some other men I've heard, tries to make it clear this is a female voice by making it breathy or whiny. The female voices were annoying.
As a Highsmith fan, I'd already read most of these stories myself. I don't normally listen to stories but I got this Audible because in listening to another person read to you, you pick up different nuances to the story and somewhat of a different interpretation as well. That proved true here to great effect, although it can be a little jarring to have an idea of what a character sounds like in your head be different to that of the narrator's interpretation!
I think audio narrators should stick to making voices for only characters of their own gender. Pinchot mimicking women's voices and Campbell mimicking male voices was, for the most part, unintentionally hilarious. While it was entertaining it took away from the listening experience and from the story.
Pinchot uses the same slow drag which made different characters' dialogue run together. Campbell was all right, though I was disappointed in her "Carol" (The Price of Salt) voice which came off a little too nasally and high whereas in the story it's described as sultry and dark.
Aside from that, the narration was just fine.
I have mixed feelings about this book. After seeing the movie years ago, I wanted to listen to Strangers on a Train. It was my favorite story in the book. Several of the short stores were interesting. The Price of Salt was my least favorite. A brave subject to write about because of the decade it was written. I found the story drawn out and boring with too much dialogue. The two narrators did a good job. The only reason I gave the book 4 stars was because of Strangers on a Train.
I bought this because I wanted to read Strangers on a Train. I'm sorry I did I think Alfred Hitchcocks version is much better.
main reason not to buy this book The length is achieved by reading the same stories twice
I learned much about her private life and pathological relationship with her mother. While she was strange in her personal life, that same quality exists in her writing which also demonstrates her intelligence, her focus on resourceful/unique characters, settings, and creative and unique plots which usually hinge on at least one amoral or sociopathic character. She follows with meticulous logic from beginning to the end of the story and her writing is fairly literary and compelling to read.
Devora de la Mer
If you need to explore the sadness in life then these stories are for you. The reader is excellent. I usually enjoy Highsmith but this collection was disappointing
the voice of Bruno, in Strangers on the Train, is perhaps the best audio narration I have ever heard . . .
Stranger on a Train (yes the book Hitchcock based his great movie on) is the best kind of psychological thriller.
This was the first time I tried Ms. Highsmith. I bought the book for Strangers on a Train because of the movie. The underlying story was fine but I had difficulty staying interested because of the extensive time spent in the protagonist's mind and not pursuing the story. I did listen to all of Strangers because I wanted to see how it ended. I tried one or two of the short stories but could not develop any interest in them. Then, the Price of Salt bored me to tears. I quit within 20 minutes of starting Salt as the story itself had gone nowhere. While she may be considered an accomplished writer, I could not get interested in the characters or story.
I only gave Stranger on a Train three stars for story. What I did listen to beyond that got zero stars for story.
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