Strangers on a Train

( 11 )

Overview

A major new reissue of the work of a classic noir novelist.
With the acclaim for The Talented Mr. Ripley, more film projects in production, and two biographies forthcoming, expatriate legend Patricia Highsmith would be shocked to see that she has finally arrived in her homeland. Throughout her career, Highsmith brought a keen literary eye and a genius for plumbing the psychopathic mind to more than thirty works of fiction, unparalleled in their placid deviousness and sardonic ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$12.56
BN.com price
(Save 15%)$14.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (35) from $4.11   
  • New (14) from $8.78   
  • Used (21) from $4.11   
Strangers on a Train

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 24%)$13.95 List Price

Overview

A major new reissue of the work of a classic noir novelist.
With the acclaim for The Talented Mr. Ripley, more film projects in production, and two biographies forthcoming, expatriate legend Patricia Highsmith would be shocked to see that she has finally arrived in her homeland. Throughout her career, Highsmith brought a keen literary eye and a genius for plumbing the psychopathic mind to more than thirty works of fiction, unparalleled in their placid deviousness and sardonic humor. With deadpan accuracy, she delighted in creating true sociopaths in the guise of the everyday man or woman. Now, one of her finest works is again in print: Strangers on a Train, Highsmith's first novel and the source for Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1953 film. With this novel, Highsmith revels in eliciting the unsettling psychological forces that lurk beneath the surface of everyday contemporary life.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The Los Angeles Times
Strangers on a Train is a moral-vertigo thriller: Crime and Punishment for a post-atomic age.— Tom Nolan
Tom Nolan - The Los Angeles Times
“Strangers on a Train is a moral-vertigo thriller: Crime and Punishment for a post-atomic age.”
Time
For eliciting the menace that lurks in familiar surroundings, there's no one like Patricia Highsmith.
New Yorker
Highsmith's novels are peerlessly disturbing ....bad dreams that keep us thrashing for the rest of the night.
Library Journal
From the I can't believe this is out of print department comes Highsmith's white-knuckler and the basis of the Hitchcock film of the same name. With this, her first novel, Highsmith set the pattern she would follow in later books, introducing sociopaths who are so subtle they can pass unnoticed in the world around them. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393321982
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/28/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 281
  • Sales rank: 148,851
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (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 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.

Read More Show Less
    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

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2003

    Timeless Suspense

    If you are interested in a quick yet intense read, this is the book. It is fabulously narrated and is definately a psychological thriller. It is a timeless story of murder that has not deminished in believability over the years.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Unconvincing

    This book is not nearly as frightening as it is unbelievable. We learn what the main subject of the book is very quickly; a perfect murder. It's supposed to be the perfect crime; you kill my father and I will kill your wife. We are strangers, so we have no link to each other's victims except this meeting. This is what Charles Bruno suggests to Guy Haines on the train where they meet for the first time, and improbably, they quickly get into a conversation about murdering each other's burdens. The way Bruno injects himself into Guy's life after this is sly, but is also unconvincing. We are told that the murder of Miriam (Guy's wife from which he is seeking a divorce) is Bruno's first murder. However, Bruno does it with such ease and eagerness that he seems more like a seasoned killer than an amateur. While some read this book to be a deep look at the criminal mind, to me it is more a light skim of human guilt and it's reactions. The reader is given more description about the superficial things like food and appearances than deep emotional and personal experiences. Later on in the book, when we find out how successful Guy is in his career, it's surprising because Guy's life is never described with much depth. There is also a lot we never learn about Bruno or his past, but this doesn't seem necessarily intentional. While I do see the allusions of incest, specifically in Bruno's descriptions of his own mother, I never see the homosexual references that everyone seems to describe when talking about Highsmith's writing. Bruno's descriptions of Guy seem to be more about envy than attraction. Bruno is fascinated and jealous of Guy's world, and Bruno lives in that world through his platonic but obsessive relationship with Guy. Also, Bruno's death is simpler than it should be and seems like an easy way to get rid of a character to allow the book to end the way Highsmith intended. This book is the original, male, and most importantly, less frightening, version of Single White Female. Not the story I expected it to be and certainly not as much depth as a lot of people seem to give it credit for.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2013

    Very interesting story-quick read

    The idea---is a genius one. Two strangers meet on a train. They both have a problem. One has a nasty wife he is separated from. The other has an annoying and overbearing father. You take care of my problem, I'll take care of yours. It's the perfect murder. There is no motive. Nobody knows the two have ever met before. Who would suspect a thing? However, these two people are much too flawed to make a plan like this work. Charles Bruno, the mastermind, a spoiled, lazy, psychopath---he's much too unstable (especially since he is also an alcoholic) and too arrogant to keep quiet. And Guy Haines, the man bullied into the plan is much too tortured by guilt. The way that Bruno haunts Guy, and the way that Guy haunts himself, makes this book an interesting read. Two very different and engaging characters. So much danger at every turn, so much unpredictability. The torture that one does to their own soul with guilt. All this makes it quite the read. You won't regret it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    cool

    very cool and bloody fantastic

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 25, 2013

    I liked the first two thirds of the book, but found the last thi

    I liked the first two thirds of the book, but found the last third very hard to get through. The repetitious nature of primary character Guy's self torture was relentless and really draining; the same thing over and over.

    I did though love the first part, particularly the opening scene is superb. The raising of and maintaining the suspense at a relentless pace is also superb. I loved the vivid portrayal of how an essentially good person can be blackmailed and dragged into a nightmare by a madman is presented. These people were innocent and trusting and did not know how to handle the crazy person invading their lives.

    The author has used mainly 2 POVs - that of the main character Guy and the crazy protagonist Bruno's, but has interspersed 3 other POVs sparingly - that of Bruno's mother's, of Guy's wife Anne's, and the investigator Gerard's. At times POVs switch between Bruno's and his mother's, Bruno's and Anne's in the middle of the same scene. I didn't think Bruno's mother's or Anne's POVs were necessary; they slightly weakened these scenes.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2012

    My review

    Good book. Old fashioned by today's standards. Have not seen the movie which I will have to watch for comparison. Heard the book mentioned during a TV program I was watching. I will read other material by this author. The main character needed to "man up".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2014

    Great, true thriller

    This novel is a thriller in the true sense of the genre. It draws you in quickly and takes hold. I see that some reviews did not like the final third of the novel, but that was the most uncomfortable part. Truly the best part. The discomfort and suffocating guilt is reminicient of "Deliverance". It could have been longer as ending so soon is always hard for an avid reader, yet drawing out the pain and suspense more would have been too much to bear. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone that seeks a well-developed thriller.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)