Mermaids on the Golf Course: Stories

Overview

The stories collected in Mermaids on the Golf Course, first published in 1985, are among Patricia Highsmith's most mature, psychologically penetrating works. Published in the latter part of her career, these stories reveal Highsmith's mastery of the short story form. Moving between locales as various as France, Mexico, Zurich, and New York, Highsmith transforms the mundane features of everyday life into an eerie setting for her chilling portrayals of violence, secrecy, and madness. In "The Stuff of Madness," ...
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Mermaids on the Golf Course: Stories

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Overview

The stories collected in Mermaids on the Golf Course, first published in 1985, are among Patricia Highsmith's most mature, psychologically penetrating works. Published in the latter part of her career, these stories reveal Highsmith's mastery of the short story form. Moving between locales as various as France, Mexico, Zurich, and New York, Highsmith transforms the mundane features of everyday life into an eerie setting for her chilling portrayals of violence, secrecy, and madness. In "The Stuff of Madness," Christopher Waggoner, increasingly dismayed by his wife's habit of preserving dead pets in their garden, enacts a devious revenge by adding a bizarre new exhibit to their collection; in the title story, an eminent economist's brush with death endows his once-familiar desires with tragic consequences; and in "A Shot from Nowhere," a young painter who witnesses a gruesome death on a vacant Mexican street becomes trapped in an unimaginable nightmare. In these piercing stories, Highsmith creates a world all the more frightening because we recognize it as our own.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fans of Highsmith ( Strangers on a Train , Found in the Street ) will welcome this collection; for others it may be an acquired taste. Among the 11 short stories, ``The Stuff of Madness'' tells of a woman who displays her dead stuffed pets in the garden, and of her husband's final revolt. ``A Clock Ticks at Christmas'' is about the breakup of the marriage between a woman born rich and a man who had to make his money, and their opposite reactions to a theft by two urchins she befriends. In ``The Button,'' a man displaces his rage at his Mongoloid son by killing a stranger. In the title story, a government official injured in an assassination attempt on the President suffers a personality change he is unaware of, although everyone else notices his altered behavior. The art student visiting Mexico in ``A Shot from Nowhere'' sees a young boy killed but can get no one to do anything about it; he is arrested and thrown out of the country with no explanation. More mood pieces and psychological studies than nicely plotted stories, these tales are depressing and downbeat, albeit very well written. ( October
Library Journal
Speaking of good stuff, this novel and short story collection are from one of mystery's best. Both Deep Water (1957) and Mermaids (1970) feature Highsmith's expert use of ordinary people and everyday settings that turn foul, making them all the more sinister. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Boston Globe
β€œAn atmosphere of nameless dread, of unspeakable foreboding, permeates every page of Patricia Highsmith, and there's nothing quite like it.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892963584
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 11/28/1988
  • Pages: 240

Meet the Author

Patricia Highsmith (1921–1995) was the author of more than twenty novels, including Strangers on a Train, The Price of Salt and The Talented Mr. Ripley, as well as numerous short stories.
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    1. Also Known As:
      Mary Patricia Plangman (birth name); Claire Morgan (pen name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 19, 1921
    2. Place of Birth:
      Fort Worth, Texas
    1. Date of Death:
      February 4, 1995
    2. Place of Death:
      Locarno, Switzerland

Table of Contents

Mermaids on the Golf Course 11
The Button 27
Where the Action Is 49
Chris's Last Party 69
A Clock Ticks at Christmas 97
A Shot from Nowhere 117
The Stuff of Madness 143
Not in This Life, Maybe the Next 161
I Am Not As Efficient As Other People 181
The Cruelest Month 199
The Romantic 221
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