Strangers on a Train

Strangers on a Train

4.0 13
by Patricia Highsmith
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0393321983

ISBN-13: 9780393321982

Pub. Date: 08/28/2001

Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

"For eliciting the menace that lurks in familiar surroundings, there's no one like Patricia Highsmith." —TimeThe world of Patricia Highsmith has always been filled with ordinary people, all of whom are capable of very ordinary crimes. This theme was present from the beginning, when her debut, Strangers on a Train, galvanized the reading public. Here we encounter

Overview

"For eliciting the menace that lurks in familiar surroundings, there's no one like Patricia Highsmith." —TimeThe world of Patricia Highsmith has always been filled with ordinary people, all of whom are capable of very ordinary crimes. This theme was present from the beginning, when her debut, Strangers on a Train, galvanized the reading public. Here we encounter Guy Haines and Charles Anthony Bruno, passengers on the same train. But while Guy is a successful architect in the midst of a divorce, Bruno turns out to be a sadistic psychopath who manipulates Guy into swapping murders with him. "Some people are better off dead," Bruno remarks, "like your wife and my father, for instance." As Bruno carries out his twisted plan, Guy is trapped in Highsmith's perilous world, where, under the right circumstances, anybody is capable of murder.The inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1951 film, Strangers on a Train launched Highsmith on a prolific career of noir fiction, proving her a master at depicting the unsettling forces that tremble beneath the surface of everyday contemporary life.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393321982
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
08/28/2001
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
281
Sales rank:
101,128
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

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Strangers on a Train 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Crazy4CrazyForts More than 1 year ago
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.
Jenni_Wickham More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous 12 months ago
This review is more to promote the film by Alfred Hitchcock than the novel. Strangers might be my favorite Hitchcock flick, mainly because of the crazy carousel careening and crashing at the end. An interesting trivia note is that Raymond Chandler worked on the script and received screen credit though the final draft omitted his contribution. The novel got under my skin, which may not be a compliment. The film differs from the book in one major way dealing with the actions of Guy our hero, which I will not reveal here. He is more venal in the book than in the film. It's for that reason that I find Highsmith's vision distasteful. I've read Highsmith's other works,including Ripley, and believe her work is amoral because her characters are so immoral. It's a little disturbing that she is becoming more popular. Children and teens need not to be exposed to this nihilism.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
krewki More than 1 year ago
very cool and bloody fantastic
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago