Friday, October 14, 2005

Rediscovering the novels and stories of Patricia Highsmith

BLOOMSBURY has recently reissued a couple of Patricia Highsmith’s novels: Deep Water (1957), This Sweet Sickness (1960), Edith’s Diary (1977), Carol (1990) and Ripley Under Water (1991). They have also reissued two of her short-story collections, Tales of Natural and Unnatural Catastrophes (1987) and Nothing That Meets the Eye (2002). The Tremor of Forgery (1969) and The Black House (1981) will be published by Bloomsbury in 2006.

Reviewing Nothing That Meets the Eye (2002), a collection of previously unpublished stories by Highsmith, Zoë Paxton in the Times, declares, “Patricia Highsmith ... could write a mean story. ... The charming, murdering anti-hero of The Talented Mr Ripley (1955) is her best-known creation but it is in her short stories that the appetite for the cruel and the macabre is best fed. This collection of mostly unpublished stories, gleaned from the masses of diaries and notebooks recovered after her death in 1995, is a treat.” Andrew Wilson in the Independent on Sunday said, “I read them over the course of two days, and even though, as her biographer, I thought I was attuned to her peculiarly terrifying universe I surfaced reeling, my psychological outlook slightly skewed ... Highsmith, with her transparent, monotone style, cleverly seduces the reader into identifying with the warped individuals here, just as she does with Ripley, and in the process normalises abnormality ...” The consistent quality of her prose is a joy to behold.

HIGHSMITH Patricia [1921-1995] Crime novelist. Born Mary Patricia Plangman in Fort Worth, Texas, U.S. NOVELS Small g: A Summer Idyll (1995); Carol (1990); Found in the Street (1986); People Who Knock on the Door (1983); Edith’s Diary (1977); A Dog’s Ransom (1972); The Tremor of Forgery (1969); Those Who Walk Away (1967); A Suspension of Mercy (published as The Story-Teller in the U.S.) (1965); The Glass Cell (1964); The Two Faces of January (1964: winner of the 1965 Silver Dagger Award); The Cry of the Owl (1962); This Sweet Sickness (1960); A Game for the Living (1958); Deep Water (1957); The Blunderer (1954); Strangers on a Train (1950) THE TOM RIPLEY SERIES Ripley Under Water (1991); The Boy Who Followed Ripley (1980); Ripley’s Game (1974); Ripley Underground (1970); The Talented Mr Ripley (1955: winner of the 1956 Edgar Award) WRITTEN UNDER THE NAME CLARE MORGAN The Price of Salt (1952: republished as Carol in 1990) STORIES Nothing That Meets the Eye: The Uncollected Stories of Patricia Highsmith (2002); The Selected Stories of Patricia Highsmith (2001); Tales of Natural and Unnatural Catastrophes (1987); Mermaids on the Golf Course (1985); The Black House (1981); Slowly, Slowly in the Wind (1979); The Animal-Lover’s Book of Beastly Murder (1975); Little Tales of Misogyny (1974); Eleven (published as The Snail-Watcher and Other Stories in the U.S.) (1970) NONFICTION Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction (1966) CHILDREN’S Miranda the Panda is on the Veranda (with Doris Sanders) (1958)


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