A Virago Modern Classic
By Patricia Highsmith
First published in 1953, The Blunderer is often hailed as Highsmith's finest novel, about the rise and fall of a faithful suburban husband who plots his wife's demise in fantasies gruesome and eerily serene.
'My suspicion is that when the dust has settled and when the chronicle of 20th-century American literature comes to be written, history will place Highsmith at the top of the pyramid, as we should place Dostoevsky at the top of the Russian hierarchy of novelists' A. N. Wilson, Daily Telegraph
The Blunderer was written by Highsmith in between Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr Ripley. The novel follows the young, successful and handsome, Walter Stackhouse who seems to have it all, that is, until the day his wife's body is found at the bottom of a cliff. Under the intense scrutiny of the investigation he commits one mistake, then another, until - in true Highsmithian fashion - Walter finds his perfect life derailed. Now Walter is running from the obsessions of the murderer, and the suspicions of the lead cop, not to mention his own increasingly life-threatening blunders.
Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995) was born in Fort Worth, Texas. Her first novel, Strangers on a Train, was made into a classic film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951. The Talented Mr Ripley, published in 1955, introduced the fascinating anti-hero Tom Ripley, and was made into an Oscar-winning film in 1999 by Anthony Minghella. Graham Greene called Patricia Highsmith 'the poet of apprehension', saying that she 'created a world of her own - a world claustrophobic and irrational which we enter each time with a sense of personal danger'. Patricia Highsmith died in Locarno, Switzerland, in February 1995. Her last novel, Small g: A Summer Idyll, was published posthumously, the same year.
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- Publication date:
07 May 2015
- Page count:
Almost unputdownable. Miss Highsmith writes about men like a spider writing about flies. — The Observer
Highsmith's novels are peerlessly disturbing ....bad dreams that keep us thrashing for the rest of the night — The New Yorker
One of the greatest modernist writers — Gore Vidal
My suspicion is that when the dust has settled and when the chronicle of 20th-century American literature comes to be written, history will place Highsmith at the top of the pyramid, as we should place Dostoevsky at the top of the Russian hierarchy of novelists — A.N Wilson, Daily Telegraph