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Search tags: Patricia-Highsmith
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text 2017-11-20 13:08
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Square #4: November 22nd and 23rd - Penance Day
The Tremor of Forgery: A Virago Modern Classic (Virago Modern Classics) - Denise Mina (introduction) Patricia Highsmith (author)

Book themes for Penance Day: Read a book that has a monk, nun, pastor / preacher or priest as a protagonist, or where someone is struggling with feelings of guilt or with their conscience (regardless over what).

 

I meant to update this over the weekend while I was reading the book, but BL maintenance/bug fixing meant that I had to save this post until now.

 

I've read The Tremor of Forgery - a full review is still to come - and it's a book where Highsmith explores some existentialist ideas about morality and how morality is shaped. 

As it turned out, the main character spent a lot of time feeling guilty - and questioning his feelings of guilt - over current and past relationships as well as over a more tangible event that occurred during his stay in Tunisia on which the plot is based: Did he or did he not kill a man?

 

 

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review 2017-10-30 16:11
Strangers on a Train
Strangers on a Train - Patricia Highsmith

Two men randomly meet on a train. They are both fighting boredom and somehow Charles is very easy to talk to. Guy Haines ends up telling him all about his wife who cheated on him and is pregnant with another man´s child. With a little prodding from Charlie, Guy admits that he hates his wife. Charlie tells him he hates his father and begins to tell Guy about his plan for the perfect murder. His idea is that they kill for each other and no one would suspect either of them because they had no reason to kill people they didn´t know. Guy is horrified and quickly leaves thinking Charlie is just drunk. He was serious though as Guy finds out when he gets the call that his wife has been murdered. Charlie starts to call him and Guy realizes why.... Charlie wants him to finish the plan he had dreamed up.

 

When I first started reading this book I was intrigued by the story but not even half way I started to lose interest. The whole thing seemed so improbable. The more it went on the more outlandish it seemed. I made myself finish it to know how it ended but I found the discussion of murder in the first person very disturbing. Not my thing I guess.

 

 

Guy was not really much of a character.  He seemed like the perfect man in one sense with a great career but he had no backbone.  It seemed unreal that he had letters in his hand that would prove the other guy planned the murder of his own father and expected him to carry it out but he burned them.  Most of the time he acts like he hates Charlie but then he tells the police that he likes him and they are friends.  Oh, and even though Charlie gives him a gun to use he uses his own gun and then doesn´t want to throw it away.  How could this guy have made it through school to be an architect? Charlie, on the other hand is a spoiled rich kid that never grew up and always drunk.  I don´t understand how he is expected to come up with these clever plans to commit crimes and murder but then afterwards is so dumb to start wanting to spend time with the other guy.  

 

(spoiler show)

 

 

 

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text 2017-10-30 15:18
Clean slate
Jane Jensen: Gabriel Knight, Adventure Games, Hidden Objects (Influential Video Game Designers) - Jennifer deWinter,Carly A. Kocurek,Anastasia Salter
The snail-watcher, and other stories - Patricia Highsmith
The Naked Sun - Isaac Asimov

I turned in these and a bunch of other library books today, unfinished. I still have The Moai Island Puzzle and Ichi-F checked out. Let's see if I can manage to finish and review them in time. I still haven't made a decision about The Ginza Ghost.

 

It looks like I might not get that second Bingo before the end of Halloween Bingo, although I still plan to finish the book I was reading for my Vampires square, Alliance in Blood. At the moment it's highly unlikely to get more than 2 stars from me, and I can practically feel the review writing itself. I'm still shaking my head at the author's decision to have one of the characters tell another character everything that just happened. The entire convo was included on-page, even though readers had just seen it all themselves and didn't need it repeated back to them. No wonder this book is just the first part of what was originally one enormous book.

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review 2017-10-21 20:13
The Tremor of Forgery
The Tremor of Forgery: A Virago Modern Classic (Virago Modern Classics) - Denise Mina (introduction) Patricia Highsmith (author)

The Tremor of Forgery is an odd book. We got:

 

  • a tale about ones own morale and whether or not it is the right decision to adapt the moral code of the country that your currently living in.
  • vivid descriptions of Tunesia, which confirmed my conviction that I never will revisit this country again.
  • xenophobic Americans, who are being racists in a foreign country. The comments about Arabs and their behaviour were enervating and I felt the slight urge to punch the American characters repeatedly in the face.
  • a Dane, which is equally racist. He is slightly excused because of his dog.
  • yes, a dog.
  • a possibly closeted gay main character, who strikes up a friendship with an openly gay character.
  • murder and theft.
  • a book, written by the main character.
  • a suicide.
  • a weak female protagonist.
  • a lot of couscous and a LOT of tap water.

 

Yes, it´s an odd book and not whole lot is happening in this novel. It´s not my favorite Highsmith, simply because it wasn´t disturbing enough for me. But I finished this book two days ago and I´m still thinking about it. And I don´t know what was so special about this book for me to do that. Apparently Highsmith´s writing has that effect on me.

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review 2017-10-07 19:31
Eleven
Eleven - Patricia Highsmith

She is a writer who has created a world of her own – a world claustrophobic and irrational which we enter each time with a sense of personal danger, with the head half turned over the shoulder, even with a certain reluctance, for these are cruel pleasures we are going to experience, until somewhere about the third chapter the frontier is closed behind us, we cannot retreat, we are doomed to live till the story’s end with another of her long series of wanted men.

Graham Greene hit the nail on the head with his observation about Highsmith's stories. They are not comfortable, not predictable, not following the scripts of the ordinary. 

 

As with all collections of short stories, some works are stronger than others. It is the same with Eleven. Adding to that, the collection starts off with the remarkably weird story of The Snail Watcher, and is followed by a handful of gripping stories full of suspense and, well, weirdness. 

 

The second half of the collection is not quite as high on octane as the first half, but still shows Highsmith's ability to write well-plotted stories.

 

The Snail Watcher - 5*
The Birds Poised to Fly - 4*
The Terrapin - 5* (This one was horrific, and yet, I loved it. Stay clear if you have issues with descriptions of food preparation that involves animals.)
When the Fleet was In at Mobile - 5* (Dark, dark, but quite moving.)
The Quest for Blank Claveringi - 5* (Awesome. Gotta love the idea of man-eating snails.)
The Cries of Love - 2*
Mrs Afton, Among Thy Green Braes - 3*
The Heroine - 3.5*
Another Bridge to Cross - 3.5*
The Barbarians - 4*
The Empty Bird House - 3*

 

Graham Greene called Highsmith "the poet of apprehension rather than fear", and each one of these stories shows how he arrived at this conclusion. You just never know what to expect. 

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