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
First, a disclaimer I gave this book 5 stars because reviews on amazon have become super inaccurate. If it has anything less than 4 stars... you kind of assume it is awful - right? Therefore I gave this book 5 stars because I do not want to drive people away based on the star rating.
Now let's get down to the review - shall we kids?
Do I have buyer's remorse?
I purchased this book during one of audibles daily specials. So I got it for about the price of a cup of coffee at starbucks. I then listened to it during my commutes to and from work over three or four days. I enjoyed it. No remorse!
How was the reader?
I mostly listen to history books (Roman History - obviously. Doesn't everyone? Obvs) in which the readers speak in only one voice, occasionally adopting a different tone when quoting ancient texts. As a result, I sometimes get annoyed by readers who adopt different "voices" for different characters. While I thought the reader did a great job with Guy and Anne, I found his voice for Bruno annoying. That being said, Bruno is kind of annoying so... maybe this is just a testament to the reader?
How was the story?
You know when you like a girl and you show up to a dinner party hoping to impress her... and then the host introduces his friend from out of town? You know, the friend who likes old movies, read every book, and inexplicably has a shared interest with your girl in some obscure hobby? Yeah that's me. Like the guy most one uppers call a dick.
I have seen the movie STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (see? Even writing a title like a dick who works in the industry). The movie is a classic. I love it. You probably love it. And someday we, together, will hate the inevitable remake from hollywood before it even hits theaters.
Therefore reading a book that inspired a classic was a strange experience. I do not regret listening to the book BUT I will say I still prefer the movie. The book kind of drags. In addition, being inside the heads of these characters can be a little exhausting.
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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!
Like a 20th century retelling of Crime and Punishment, I never felt so sorry for a murderer.
I loved the fact that it seemed so far out, but yet was a situation ANY ONE of us could actually find ourselves in. Clever writibg, excellent irony, and an awesome, unexpected ending. You find yourself not really sure who to root for! Interesting from the first page! Not too many of those to me, and I've read A LOT in 49 years!
Probably not on the writer because this book is considered her best work.
Maybe on the narrator, but he made Bruno so annoying.
Didn't I just get asked this question?
Not too bad, except Bruno
All the ones where Bruno is an annoying drunk who whines the whole time, so half the book.
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