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Now part of American film and literary lore, Tom Ripley, "a bisexual psychopath and art forger who murders without remorse when his comforts are threatened" ( New York Times Book Review ), was Patricia Highsmith's favorite creation. In The Boy Who Followed Ripley (1980), Highsmith explores Ripley's bizarrely paternal relationship with a troubled young runaway, whose abduction draws them into Berlin's seamy underworld. More than any other American literary character, Ripley provides "a lens to peer into the sinister machinations of human behavior" (John Freeman, Pittsburgh Gazette ).
Robert Forester, a depressed but fundamentally decent man, liked to watch Jenny through her kitchen window-a harmless palliative, as he saw it, to his lonely life and failed marriage. As he is drawn into her life, however, the recriminations of his simple pleasure shatter the deceptive calm of this small Pennsylvania town. With striking clarity and horrible inevitability, Forester is caught up in a series of deaths in which he is the innocent bystander, presumed guilty. Highsmith has once again, as Graham Greene wrote, "created a world of her own-a world claustrophobic and irrational which we enter each time with a sense of personal danger." And that sense of danger grows from the first page to the sinister and chilling conclusion.
In this story, set in the small town of Little Wesley, Vic and Melinda Meller's loveless marriage is held together only by a precarious arrangement whereby in order to avoid the messiness of divorce, Melinda is allowed to take any number of lovers as long as she does not desert her family. Eventually, Vic tries to win her back by asserting himself through a tall tale of murder-one that soon comes true.
As Edith Howland's life becomes harsh, her diary entries only become brighter and brighter. She invents a happy life. As she knits for imaginary grandchildren, the real world recedes. Her descent into madness is subtle, appalling, and entirely believable.
Eleven is Highsmith's first collection of short stories, an arresting group of dark masterpieces of obsession and foreboding, violence and instability.
This text features two groundbreaking novels 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.
In this book, Patricia Highsmith analyzes the key elements of suspense fiction, drawing upon her own experience in four decades as a working writer. She talks about, among other topics; how to develop a complete story from an idea; what makes a plot gripping; the use (and abuse) of coincidence; characterization and the "likeable criminal"; going from first draft to final draft; and writing the suspense short story.
Now part of American film and literary lore, Tom Ripley, "a bisexual psychopath and art forger who murders without remorse when his comforts are threatened" ( New York Times Book Review ), was Patricia Highsmith's favorite creation. In these volumes, we find Ripley ensconced on a French estate with a wealthy wife, a world-class art collection, and a past to hide. In Ripley Under Ground (1970), an art forgery goes awry and Ripley is threatened with exposure; in The Boy Who Followed Ripley (1980), Highsmith explores Ripley's bizarrely paternal relationship with a troubled young runaway, whose abduction draws them into Berlin's seamy underworld; and in Ripley Under Water (1991), Ripley is confronted by a snooping American couple obsessed with the disappearance of an art collector who visited Ripley years before. More than any other American literary character, Ripley provides "a lens to peer into the sinister machinations of human behavior" (John Freeman, Pittsburgh Gazette ).
Tom Ripley passes his leisured days at his French country estate tending the dahlias, practicing the harpsichord, and enjoying the company of his lovely wife, Heloise. Never mind the bloodstains on the basement floor.
Living on his posh French estate with his elegant heiress wife, Tom Ripley, on the cusp of middle age, is no longer the striving comer of The Talented Mr. Ripley. Having accrued considerable wealth through a long career of crime, "forgery, extortion, serial murder,"Ripley still finds his appetite unquenched and longs to get back in the game. In Ripley's Game, first published in 1974, Patricia Highsmith's classic chameleon relishes the opportunity to simultaneously repay an insult and help a friend commit a crime "and escape the doldrums of his idyllic retirement. This third novel in Highsmith's series is one of her most psychologically nuanced "particularly memorable for its dark, absurd humor "and was hailed by critics for its ability to manipulate the tropes of the genre. With the creation of Ripley, one of literature's most seductive sociopaths, Highsmith anticipated the likes of Norman Bates and Hannibal Lecter years before their appearance.
Completed just months before Patricia Highsmith's death in 1995, "Small g" explores the labyrinthine intricacies of passion, sexuality, and jealousy in a kinky, charming tale of love misdirected, written in a style and form few knew were part of Highsmith's range.
Two men, Guy and Bruno, meet by chance on a train and pass the time in conversation. Each reveals to the other that a specific person stands in the way of happiness: for Guy, it is a wayward wife who refuses to give him a divorce; for Bruno it is a stubborn father who refuses him money. When Bruno playfully suggests that he will kill the wife for Guy if Guy will kill the father for Bruno it seems like a bad-taste joke... But Guy will soon discover there is nothing to laugh about at all.
In a chilling literary hall of mirrors, Patricia Highsmith introduces Tom Ripley. Like a hero in a latter-day Henry James novel, Tom is sent to Italy with a commission to coax a prodigal young American back to his wealthy father.
This book is a story of violence and morality set in sun-blasted Tunisia during the cold war.
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