Mermaids on the Golf Course: Stories

Mermaids on the Golf Course: Stories

by Patricia Highsmith


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The great revival of interest in Patricia Highsmith continues with this work that reveals the chilling reality behind the idyllic facade of American suburban life.

The stories collected in Mermaids on the Golf Course are among Highsmith's most mature, psychologically penetrating works. As in the title story, in which a man's brush with death endows his everyday desires with tragic consequences, the warm familiarities of middle-class life become the eerie setting for Highsmith's chilling portrayals of violence, secrecy, and madness.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393324563
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 06/19/2003
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About 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.

Date of Birth:

January 19, 1921

Date of Death:

February 4, 1995

Place of Birth:

Fort Worth, Texas

Place of Death:

Locarno, Switzerland


B.A., Barnard College, 1942

Table of Contents

Mermaids on the Golf Course11
The Button27
Where the Action Is49
Chris's Last Party69
A Clock Ticks at Christmas97
A Shot from Nowhere117
The Stuff of Madness143
Not in This Life, Maybe the Next161
I Am Not As Efficient As Other People181
The Cruelest Month199
The Romantic221

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Mermaids on the Golf Course: Stories 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ConnieJo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At first, I wasn't sure what to think of some of the first stories in this volume. The first, the titular "Mermaids on the Golf Course," is an extremely strange one of the type where... well, you can't really see the point of it. A man who was once a brilliant adviser with a future has taken a bullet for the president. At a dinner party held in his honor, we see that the bullet has affected his personality and thought processes to the point that he will never be able to be what he once was. The story ends with a sad scene of the once distinguished gentleman chasing a young girl around a pool. While it is certainly sad, the story is little more than a snapshot in his life, and we learn nothing else about this man or his life. Perhaps the fact it begged the question is a mark of quality, though.After the first couple stories, the later ones show more of Highsmith's twisted and morbid sense of humor. One of my favorites is a bizarre story about an older woman living by herself who can one day see a small gnome-like creature. She's the only one who can see him, and she's not sure what to do with him now that he lives in her house, but he begins to help her out with heavy chores and things like that. Later, he kills her cat. The actual conclusion of the story has nothing to do with the gnome, or brownie, or whatever he was.After you get past the first couple uncomfortable stories, I found these to be just as enjoyable as any of her other extremely entertaining short story collections. There's just nobody else that can write short stories like she can.