In Patricia Highsmith's debut novel, we encounter Guy Haines and Charles Anthony Bruno, passengers on the same train. But while Guy is a successful architect in the midst of a divorce, Bruno turns out to be a sadistic psychopath who manipulates Guy into swapping murders with him. As Bruno carries out his twisted plan, Guy is trapped in Highsmith's perilous world - where, under the right circumstances, anybody is capable of murder.
The inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1951 film, Strangers on a Train launched Highsmith on a prolific career of noir fiction and proved her mastery of depicting the unsettling forces that tremble beneath the surface of everyday contemporary life.
©2015 Patricia Highsmith (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (suspense) - The story takes place probably in the 1950's, partially in Texas and partially in more northern states. Guy is a successful businessman, and Bruno is a drunken loser. They meet on a train, begin conversing, and eventually address the people they each hate most in their lives. Bruno despises his father, and Guy hates his soon-to-be ex-wife. Bruno, being mentally twisted, suggests they kill each other's undesirable family member. At first Guy protests but, through a series of events, eventually is convinced they should attempt to execute Bruno's plan. I'll stop there so as not to give anything away.
The story isn't boring, but it's not exciting either. It just kind of moves along with a few surprises here and there. Bruno stays true to his personality throughout the story, but Guy progressively embraces his opposite darker personality. He also changes his feelings for Bruno, who he dislikes in the beginning of the story but later thinks of as almost a brother. There is sort of a hidden meaning to the story, which is that absolutely anyone is capable of murder given the right circumstances. Yikes.
PERFORMANCE - Bronson Pinchot (the actor) reads this book. Usually I really enjoy his performances, but not this time. In particular, Bruno sounded like a whiney spoiled child as opposed to a drunken psychopath.
OVERALL - There's no sex or cursing and only a tiny bit of mild violence. Men and women could both equally enjoy this story but, as I said, I don't necessarily recommend it. It's just okay.
I rarely like books where things are going wrong for the protagonist the whole story and this was no exception. The performance was very good, but I couldn't wait for the story to end.
I absolutely loved this story. The characters were so very well written and thought out. The story moved along at a perfect pace. Bronson Pinchot gave an exceptional performance! His voicing of the characters was so wonderful that I feel like I know these people. I highly recommend this audiobook, outstanding.
I know - this is a noir classic and must be at least four stars. But some books would make really great novellas or short stories and for me this is exhibit 1
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The story was interesting, yet it didn’t hold my attention; too much “setting the scene” and not enough “getting to the point”.
During the slow passages, my mind tended to wander away and when I eventually floated back to the story I was aware that missed something important! So irritating because the plot is a good one!
I’d like to see the movie now; I’m curious to know what Hitchcock did with it!
i liked the plot Idea, but the book SUCKED. I hated the narrator Brunos whinney cry baby voice was so annoying I couldnt wait for him to die. Guy was an idiot and the writing was just BAD. I listen too a lot of books and I am sorry but I hated this book. don't waste your money or credit.
AUDIBLE MAKES READING POSSIBLE AND EASY FOR ME...I AM VISUALLY IMPAIRED. I WISH THEY HAD ALL THE BOOKS I WANT I WOULD SNAP THEM UP!
I LIKED TO LISTEN TO THE INTERACTION OF BRUNO WITH EVERYONE ELSE IN THE BOOK.
I THINK I LIKED THE ENDING, THE READER, AND THE TENSION THAT BRUNO CAUSED GUY. THE WAY BRUNO NEVER GOES AWAY. HE KEEPS HAUNTING GUY.
LOVED IT. ESPECIALLY THE WAY HE READ BRUNO.
IT IS ONE. BY THE SAME NAME. DIRECTED BY ALFRED HITCHCOCK.
I just discovered Patricia Highsmith, a few decades late, and my first novel, Strangers on a Train, was pain and pleasure rolled in one. This Writer could certainly write!
No, I was really exited getting this book, but I really didn't like it. I haven't even finished it. I didn't like the writing and I didn't like the narrator.
The main characters are dull and annoying,
I don't really know. At least someone who keeps a steady reading pace and volume. Now I kept adjusting the speed and volume.
No, I started listening months ago and really had to force myself to continue. I now just gave up.
I don't know why I decided to read this book, possibly because it's a "classic"? I read "The Talented Mr. Ripley" a few years back and disliked it intensely and I had a similar reaction to "Strangers on a Train".
The premise is interesting enough: two strangers (Guy Haines and Charles Bruno) meet on a train and have a conversation (more a one-sided haranguing really) about potentially swapping murders. Subsequent to this, a murder occurs and, up to that point, I was on-board, but Guy's reaction just makes no sense and, with that, the whole plot falls apart. I just couldn't see why Guy did pretty much anything that he ended up doing and without that, there's no point to the rest of the book.
The whole thing didn't make any sense - apart from as a scaffolding on which to hang a series of contrived mental examinations (which maybe it was). As a set of conjoined mental studies it is kind of interesting. Ms Highsmith definitely had some interesting ideas on how people tick, especially the inside voice that justifies our actions and normalises our effect on the world. For some reason it put me in mind of "Something Wicked This Way Comes", although I can't put my finger on why exactly.
Mostly this is a book about two mentally unstable people and the questionable effect they have on each others lives and it read like a trial run for "The Talented Mr Ripley" (which came out five years later); there's a lot of Ripley in Bruno, although I didn't find him as repugnant as Ripley, just annoying.
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