Selected Stories of Patricia Highsmith

Selected Stories of Patricia Highsmith

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by Patricia Highsmith
     
 

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A literary event—a landmark collection of noir masterpieces by the renowned author of The Talented Mr. Ripley.

In a cruel twist of irony, Texas-born Patricia Highsmith is only now, six years after her death, being recognized for her inestimable genius in her native land. With the savage humor of Evelyn Waugh and the macabre sensibility of Edgar

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Overview

A literary event—a landmark collection of noir masterpieces by the renowned author of The Talented Mr. Ripley.

In a cruel twist of irony, Texas-born Patricia Highsmith is only now, six years after her death, being recognized for her inestimable genius in her native land. With the savage humor of Evelyn Waugh and the macabre sensibility of Edgar Allan Poe, she brought a distinct twentieth-century acuity to her prolific body of noir fiction. Called "the poet of apprehension" by Graham Greene, Highsmith was unrivaled in capturing the ways in which our seemingly benign neighbors can become the psychopaths next door. Now, five of her classic short story collections are combined in a single volume, The Selected Stories of Patricia Highsmith, with a foreword by Graham Greene. With Selected Stories, W. W. Norton is proud to bring out the first in a series by Patricia Highsmith—a master of suspense and an American literary icon.

Author Biography: Patricia Highsmith wrote twenty-one novels, including Strangers on a Train and the Ripley series. She died in 1995 in Switzerland, where she resided much of her life.

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Editorial Reviews

Time
For eliciting the menace that lurks in familiar surroundings, there's no one like Patricia Highsmith.
Her best stories have a hallucinatory screwiness....[R]eaders are sure to be left feeling by turns startled, oppressed, amused and queasy.
Janet Maslin
A fascinating artifact, and a difficult book to put down.
New York Times
New York Times Book Review
Her best stories have a hallucinatory screwiness....[R]eaders are sure to be left feeling by turns startled, oppressed, amused and queasy.
Library Journal
Highsmith's growing posthumous reputation is based on her elegant literary thrillers, which rely on nuanced character study to build tension incrementally, as in Strangers on a Train (1950) or the classic Ripley novels. Highsmith's stories, which are less well known, are mostly nasty, brutish, and short and remarkably effective. Graham Greene calls them "quick kills," and the primary objective seems to be to shock the reader. This selection reprints five collections of short fiction from the 1970s and 1980s. The Animal-Lover's Book of Beastly Murder (1975) is entirely devoted to stories about long-suffering animals who seek revenge on their human tormentors, like the rat who mutilates a sleeping infant or the enraged chickens who escape from an automated hen house. Every story in the aptly titled Little Tales of Misogyny (1977) illustrates an offensive female stereotype, such as "The Breeder," who has so many children that her husband finally goes insane, or "The Perfectionist," who never recovers from an overly ambitious dinner party. When these two collections were first published, their tight thematic organization seemed a bit over the top and probably worked against wide readership. Selected Stories is a big improvement over the original publications in terms of variety and balance, making this the definitive Highsmith story collection. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/01.] Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch. Lib., Los Angeles Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This massive tome reprints five of the seven complete collections of short stories by Highsmith (1921-95), together with a brief introduction by Graham Greene excerpted from a sixth. Little Tales of Misogyny (1974) identifies and coldly condemns such types as "The Coquette" and "The Breeder"; The Animal Lover's Book of Beastly Murder (1975) presents animals turning on their human companions; and the remaining volumes-Slowly, Slowly in the Wind (1979), The Black House (1981), and Mermaids on the Golf Course (1985) show the pioneering novelist of psychological suspense in equally remorseless form, anatomizing the kinds of human frailty that can as easily erupt in murder as in murderous resentment.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393020311
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
09/01/2001
Pages:
724
Product dimensions:
6.49(w) x 9.53(h) x 1.50(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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