Slowly, Slowly in the Wind

Overview

Slowly, Slowly in the Wind assembles many of Patricia Highsmith's most nuanced and psychologically suspenseful works. Rarely has an author articulated so well the hypocrisies of the Catholic Church while conveying the delusions of a writer's life and undermining the fantasy of suburban bliss. Each of these twelve pieces is a crystal-clear snapshot of lives both static and full of chaos.
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New York 1999 Hardcover Limited ed Fine in fine jacket One of 250 copies signed and numbered by the author on a special fold-out limitation sheet bound-in at the half-title ... page. This no. 18. Fine in fine dust jacket in a slipcase, as issued. Read more Show Less

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First American edition. Fine in a very near fine dust jacket (crease to rear flap) in a fine green cloth slipcase. SIGNED by author (or contributor)-hardcover-First edition--#84 ... of 250 copies SIGNED & NUMBERED by the author on a special fold-out limitation sheet bound-in at the half-title page. Twelve short stories which explore the guilt-or lack of it-in her characters and justice-or the lack of it-in their world. 178 pp. Read more Show Less

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Slowly, Slowly in the Wind

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Overview

Slowly, Slowly in the Wind assembles many of Patricia Highsmith's most nuanced and psychologically suspenseful works. Rarely has an author articulated so well the hypocrisies of the Catholic Church while conveying the delusions of a writer's life and undermining the fantasy of suburban bliss. Each of these twelve pieces is a crystal-clear snapshot of lives both static and full of chaos.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
From 1993 and 1985, respectively, come two collections of short mystery tales. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892961177
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/1/1987
  • Pages: 192

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.

Biography

Suspense novels are often described as "chilling," but no one turns down the reader's emotional thermostat quite like Patricia Highsmith, author of such haunting psychological thrillers as Strangers on a Train and creator of the sociopathic series protagonist Tom Ripley. During her life, Highsmith was a popular author in Europe, where she lived; in her native United States, however, her books went sporadically in and out of print for decades. Now, the writer whom Graham Greene called "the poet of apprehension" has finally gained recognition in the States -- not only as a master of the suspense genre, but as a literary author of rare talent.

Highsmith grew up in Texas and New York, but spent most of her adult life in England, France and Switzerland. By most accounts she was a loner who avoided other people, including other writers; but she did have early help in her career from Truman Capote, who got her a stint at the Yaddo writers' colony in New York. Her first novel, Strangers on a Train, tells the story of an architect and a psychopath who meet on a train and "swap" murders. The book gained Highsmith considerable fame, especially after it was made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock. A second novel, The Price of Salt, was printed under a pseudonym after her first publishers turned it down. Though her subsequent works didn't sell well in her home country, she kept turning out the kinds of novels and short stories the New Yorker called "bad dreams that keep us thrashing for the rest of the night."

Several movies have been loosely based on Highsmith's books, including Danny DeVito's Hitchcock spoof Throw Momma From the Train; Wim Wenders' The American Friend, adapted from Ripley's Game; and Purple Noon, a French film based on The Talented Mr. Ripley. But it was Academy Award-winning director Anthony Minghella's lush screen adaptation of The Talented Mr. Ripley, released four years after Highsmith's death and 44 years after the book's publication, that introduced Highsmith to a wider audience and led to a rediscovery of her works.

Subtle enough for a seminar yet entertaining enough for the beach, Highsmith's coolly narrated tales of terror display an observant eye for social behavior as well as individual psychology. Most books in the suspense genre provide a hero whose fundamental honesty and decency stand as bulwarks against the evil he or she confronts. But in a Highsmith novel, the reader is alone with victim and victimizer -- and an unsettling sense of empathy with both.

As Francis Wyndham has noted, Highsmith's "peculiar brand of horror comes less from the inevitability of disaster, than from the ease with which it might have been avoided. The evil of her agents is answered by the impotence of her patients -- this is not the attraction of opposites, but in some subtle way the call of like to like. When they finally clash in the climactic catastrophe, the reader's sense of satisfaction may derive from sources as dark as those which motivate Patricia Highsmith's destroyers and their fascinated victims."

Good To Know

Patricia Highsmith was born Mary Patricia Plangman; her parents divorced soon after she was born, however, and she was given her stepfather's last name. After Highsmith graduated from college, she lived for a time with her mother and stepfather in Greenwich Village, where she wrote comic books to support herself, including scripts for the Superman series.

A lesbian herself, Highsmith is thought to have written the first American novel in which a homosexual love story has a happy ending. The novel, The Price of Salt, was published under the pseudonym Claire Morgan; it was reissued in 1984 (as Carol), but didn't appear under the writer's real name until 1991.

Highsmith once told an interviewer that the only suspense writer she read was the master -- Dostoevsky, over and over. In her book Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction, she wrote, "I think most of Dostoyevsky's books would be called suspense books, were they being published today for the first time. But he would be asked to cut, because of production costs."

The premise of The Talented Mr. Ripley was inspired by Henry James's The Ambassadors, in which a widow sends her fiance from America to Paris to fetch her wayward son.

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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

The man who wrote books in his head 9
The network 17
The pond 37
Something you have to live with 59
Slowly, slowly in the wind 79
Those awful dawns 101
Woodrow Wilson's necktie 121
One for the islands 141
A curious suicide 151
The baby spoon 165
Broken glass 179
Please don't shoot the trees 201
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