People Who Knock on the Door

People Who Knock on the Door

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by Patricia Highsmith
     
 

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"Highsmith's novels are peerlessly disturbing...bad dreams that keep us thrashing for the rest of the night."—The New Yorker
With the savage humor of Evelyn Waugh and the macabre sensibility of Edgar Allan Poe, Patricia Highsmith brought a distinct twentieth-century acuteness to her prolific body of fiction. In her more than twenty novels, psychopaths lie

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Overview

"Highsmith's novels are peerlessly disturbing...bad dreams that keep us thrashing for the rest of the night."—The New Yorker
With the savage humor of Evelyn Waugh and the macabre sensibility of Edgar Allan Poe, Patricia Highsmith brought a distinct twentieth-century acuteness to her prolific body of fiction. In her more than twenty novels, psychopaths lie in wait amid the milieu of the mundane, in the neighbor clipping the hedges or the spouse asleep next to you at night. Now, Norton continues the revival of this noir genius with another of her lost masterpieces: a later work from 1983, People Who Knock on the Door, is a tale about blind faith and the slippery notion of justice that lies beneath the peculiarly American veneer of righteousness. This novel, out of print for years, again attests to Highsmith's reputation as "the poet of apprehension" (Graham Greene).

Editorial Reviews

New Yorker
Highsmith's novels are peerlessly disturbing...bad dreams that keep us thrashing for the rest of the night.
Library Journal
Published in 1954 and 1985, respectively, this duo offer more of Highsmith's signature characters in plots where fairly ordinary people perform extraordinary acts of brutality. The Blunderer finds protagonist Walter Stackhouse, who fantasizes about knocking off his wife, in hot water with the cops after the Mrs. ends up at the bottom of a cliff. When Richard Alderman becomes a born-again Christian in People Who Knock on Doors, his family is shattered, leading to a violent outcome. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393322439
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
11/28/2001
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
1,114,295
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Highsmith (1921–1995) was the author of more than twenty novels, including Strangers on a Train, The Price of Salt,The Blunderer and The Talented Mr. Ripley, as well as numerous short stories.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
January 19, 1921
Date of Death:
February 4, 1995
Place of Birth:
Fort Worth, Texas
Place of Death:
Locarno, Switzerland
Education:
B.A., Barnard College, 1942

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People Who Knock on the Door 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Patricia Highsmith pulls a one-two punch on readers with her disturbing "People Who Knock on the Door." The first punch aims at modern Christianity. The second aims at every reader who thought the first punch was aimed at modern Christianity. The story is centered around Arthur, a recent high-school graduate, and the problems he has concerning his family. His father has recently become a Christian - a Bible-thumping, "Amen"-shouting believer. Because his children have not been raised in a Christian home, the father's conversion tears the family apart, and traditional Highsmith violence ensues. Is Highsmith praising or satirizing modern Christianity? Her opinion is seemingly obvious, because the book is almost completely one-sided...or is it? It, in fact, is not one-sided at all. Patricia Highsmith brilliantly pokes fun at herself - and at everyone ready to criticize her - by ultimately making the novel a farce. A very dark farce, mind you, but a farce nonetheless. The "villain" character is extremely one-sided, as is the protagonist. And because of how the book ends, the reader tends to view Highsmith as one-sided, also. In the end, neither side wins: If you're the Christian, Highsmith has pulled the wool over your eyes by getting you to read the book in the first place - you should be reading the Bible, you hypocrite. If you "agree" with her supposed views toward Western Religion, she pulled the wool over your eyes, too - you have become the cynical Arthur...it's easy to point fingers when you're the protagonist, huh? I have come to expect sharp thrillers from Patricia Highsmith. "People Who Knock on the Door" is more than a thriller...it is a razor-sharp dark comedy that succeeds on every level.