Patricia Highsmith - Mermaids on the Golf Course - Little, Brown Book Group

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Mermaids on the Golf Course

A Virago Modern Classic

By Patricia Highsmith

  • E-Book
  • £P.O.R.

In this collection of stories, Patricia Highsmith reveals the chilling reality behind the idyllic facade of American suburban life.

'One of the exhilarating effects of reading Highsmith's stories . . . is their surehandednes, their amazing breadth and abundance . . . they compel attention and they add significantly to her already formidable presence' Washington Post

The stories collected in Mermaids on the Golf Course, first published in 1985, are among Patricia Highsmith's most mature, psychologically penetrating works. Published in the latter part of her career, these stories reveal Highsmith's mastery of the short story form. Moving between locales as various as France, Mexico, Zurich, and New York, Highsmith transforms the mundane features of everyday life into an eerie backdrop for her penetrating stories of violence, secrecy, and madness. In 'The Stuff of Madness', Christopher Waggoner, increasingly dismayed by his wife's habit of preserving dead pets in their garden, enacts a devious revenge by adding a bizarre new exhibit to their collection; in the title story, a eminent economist's brush with death endows his once-familiar desires with tragic consequences; and in 'A Shot from Nowhere', a young painter who witnesses a gruesome death on a vacant Mexican Street becomes trapped in an unimaginable nightmare. In these piercing stories, Highsmith creates a world all the more frightening because we recognise it as our own.

Biographical Notes

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.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780349004754
  • Publication date: 06 Mar 2014
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: Virago
Sphere

Whisper Network

Chandler Baker
Authors:
Chandler Baker
Hachette Audio

The Great Believers

Rebecca Makkai
Authors:
Rebecca Makkai

FINALIST FOR THE CARNEGIE MEDALFINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS'Stirring, spellbinding and full of life' Téa Obreht, New York Times bestselling author of The Tiger's WifeIn 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is about to pull off an amazing coup: bringing an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings as a gift to the gallery. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDs epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico's funeral, he finds his partner is infected, and that he might even have the virus himself. The only person he has left is Fiona, Nico's little sister.Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago epidemic, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways the AIDS crisis affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. Yale and Fiona's stories unfold in incredibly moving and sometimes surprising ways, as both struggle to find goodness in the face of disaster.

Hachette Audio

Outrages

Naomi Wolf
Authors:
Naomi Wolf

The bestselling author of Vagina illuminates a dramatic history - how a single English law in 1857 led to a maelstrom, with reverberations lasting down to our day. That law was the Obscene Publications Act and it was a crucial turning point. Why? Because dissent and morality; 'deviancy' and 'normalcy'; unprintable and printable were suddenly lawful concepts in the modern sense. This new law effectively invented modern obscenity. Before 1857 it wasn't 'homosexuality' - a term that didn't yet exist - that was a crime, but simply the act of sodomy. But in a single stroke, not only was love between men illegal, but anything referring to this love also became obscene, unprintable, unspeakable. And writers, editors and printers became the gatekeepers with a responsibility to uphold the morals of the society - followed by serious criminal penalties if they didn't. And as the act evolved, joined by other laws against sexual representation and speech, making their way to courts, the authors' or artists' intentions were deemed immaterial. What mattered was if the work in question had a 'tendency . . . to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences, and into whose hands a publication of this sort may fall'. Wolf paints the dramatic ways this set of laws and consolidation of what we would call homophobia and censorship, played out among a bohemian group of sexual dissidents, including Walt Whitman in America and the homosexual English critic John Addington Symonds - in love with Whitman's homoerotic voice in Leaves of Grass - decades before the infamous 1895 trial of Oscar Wilde. She retrieves forgotten history of men and even young teenage boys, executed at the Old Bailey for 'sodomy' or even 'the attempt'. Algernon Charles Swinburne, Dante and Christina Rossetti, Walter Pater and painter Simeon Solomon, were among the writers and artists, and countless booksellers and printers, whose lives were shadowed with jeopardy from this emerging network of laws against speech and love. She depicts both a fascinating story and, crucially, an important way of understanding how we arrived at our ideas of 'normalcy' and 'deviancy' - and the idea of the state's purported need and right to police speech - ideas which are with us to this day. Most powerfully, Wolf recounts how a dying Symonds helped write the book on 'sexual inversion' that created our modern understanding of homosexuality. She argues that his secret memoir, mined and explained here fully for the first time, together with a secretly published essay, evolved into what would become the first mainstream gay rights manifesto in the west - proving that the literature of love will ultimately triumph over censorship.

Sphere

The Woman in the Dark

Vanessa Savage
Authors:
Vanessa Savage

For Sarah and Patrick, family life has always been easy. But when Sarah's mother dies, it sends her into a downwards spiral. Knowing they need a fresh start, Patrick moves the family to the idyllic, beach-side house he grew up in.But there is a catch: while for Patrick their new home carries only happy memories, to everyone else it's 'the Murder House' - named for the family killed there. Patrick is adamant they can make it perfect again, though with their children plagued by nightmares and the odd 'gifts' arriving on the doorstep, Sarah's not so sure.And the longer they live in their 'dream home', the more different Sarah's kind, loving husband becomes. Soon Sarah starts to wonder what secrets hide beneath its walls, and if they are secrets Patrick has been hiding his whole life . . .

Piatkus

Promise Not To Tell

Jayne Ann Krentz
Authors:
Jayne Ann Krentz

'Another complex, compelling romantic suspense novel from a queen of the genre' Kirkus ReviewsA broken promise reveals a terrifying legacy in this electrifying novel from the New York Times bestselling author of When All the Girls Have Gone.A painter of fiery, nightmarish visions throws herself into the sea - but she leaves her secrets behind . . . Seattle gallery owner Virginia Troy has spent years battling the demons that stem from her childhood time in a cult and the night a fire burned through the compound, killing her mother. And now one of her artists has taken her own life, but not before sending Virginia a last picture: a painting that makes Virginia doubt everything about the so-called suicide - and her own past.Like Virginia, private investigator Cabot Sutter was one of the children in the cult who survived that fire... and only he can help her now. As they struggle to unravel the clues in the painting, it becomes clear that someone thinks Virginia knows more than she does and that she must be stopped. Thrown into an inferno of desire and deception, Virginia and Cabot draw ever closer to the mystery of their shared memories - and the shocking fate of the one man who still wields the power to destroy everything they hold dear.A suspenseful read full of twists and with the darkest of secrets at its heart, this is perfect for fans of Nora Roberts or Sandra Brown'The master of romantic suspense . . . Krentz dives into sociopathic psychology and complex characterization to great effect in this twisty story, whose plot clips along at a terrific pace' BookPage

Hachette Audio

Ripley's Game

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

Living on his French estate with his elegant heiress wife, Tom Ripley, on the cusp of middle age, is no longer the striving chancer of The Talented Mr. Ripley. Having accrued considerable wealth through a long career of crime, he tires of his idyllic retirement. Highsmith's chameleon longs to get back in the game, so when a friend needs a favour, he relishes the opportunity. Tom Ripley detests murder. Unless it is absolutely necessary. Wherever possible, he prefers someone else to do the dirty work. In this case, someone with no criminal record who can be manipulated to commit 'two simple murders' for a very generous fee.Ripley's Game is followed by The Boy Who Followed Ripley and Ripley Under Water'The No. 1 Greatest Crime Writer' The Times

Hachette Audio

Ripley Under Water

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

Tom Ripley is quietly living in luxury at his chateau at Villeperce. He has a past, however, that would not bear too much close scrutiny. He is certain that he has covered his tracks where murder and forgery are concerned. But when a certain American couple move in next door, he soon realises his every move is being shadowed. Ripley fears his secrets may be discovered and he will stop at nothing to prevent that from happening . . .'The No.1 Greatest Crime Writer' The Times

Little, Brown

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

J.K. Rowling
Authors:
J.K. Rowling
Virago

Strangers on a Train

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Sphere

Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

The Two Faces of January

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

This Sweet Sickness

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

Too much love can be a bad thing.'Highsmith was every bit as deviant and quirky as her mischievous heroes, and didn't seem to mind if everyone knew it' J. G. Ballard, Daily TelegraphDavid Kelsey has an invincible conviction that life is going to work out just as he has planned it - if he can just fix 'the situation'. His one true love, the brilliant, beautiful Annabelle, has married another man. But that doesn't mean they can't still be friends. And even though she is pregnant with her husband Gerald's baby, that surely doesn't mean she won't one day get back together with David. She still loves him, of that he is certain. David is sure she'll take him back, and, under an alias, is setting up a wonderful home for the two of them in a town close by. And everything is just about going to plan until things take a murderous turn, leaving David a desperate man on the run.

Virago

People Who Knock on the Door

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

People Who Knock on the Door, is a tale about blind faith and the slippery notion of justice that lies beneath the peculiarly American veneer of righteousness.'A border zone of the macabre, the disturbing, the not quite accidental . . . Highsmith achieves the effect of the occult without any resources to supernatural machinery' New York Times Book ReviewIn a pitiless story of prying suburban self-righteousness, Patricia Highsmith introduces the Alderman family as they descend into moral crisis. When small-town insurance salesman Richard Alderman becomes a born-again Christian, his once tight-knit family quickly begins to rip apart at the seams. He and his youngest son, Robbie, embrace their newfound faith, while his elder son Arthur rejects it. Caught in the middle of the ensuing web of lies, his wife, Lois, tries to keep the family together, but when the church elders start to interfere in Arthur's love life, events spiral toward violence. In this masterful late work, Highsmith weaves a powerful tale about blind faith and the peculiar ideas of justice that lie underneath the veneer of respectability.

Virago

Found in the Street

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

'Uncomfortable, frightening, compulsive and, worst of all, terribly believable. It's vintage Highsmith' Time OutOn a stroll through Greenwich Village, security guard Ralph Linderman finds a wallet on the sidewalk. It belongs to Jack Sutherland, a wealthy aspiring artist, and it is his misfortune to have it returned to him - with all $263 and credit cards untouched. Because now Ralph knows where Jack lives.Elsie Tyler is a beautiful young waitress - an innocent in New York - and Ralph feels he must protect her from 'bad company'. When he sees Elsie leaving Jack's apartment, he is not pleased. Not pleased at all.By the author of The Talented Mr Ripley, Found in the Street is an unsettling thriller that explores the bleakest alleyways of human desire.

Virago

A Dog's Ransom

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

'Highsmith is a giant of the genre. The original, the best, the gloriously twisted Queen of Suspense' Mark Billingham'Dear Sir, I suppose you are pretty pleased with yourself? Superior to everyone, you think. A fancy apartment and a snob dog. You are a disgusting little machine, nothing else. Your days are numbered.'Ed Reynolds, an editor at a prestigious publishing house, has received a number of anonymous poison pen letters. He has no idea who could bear him such a grudge. Returning home one night, he finds a ransom note for his wife's beloved French poodle: 'I have your dog Lisa. She is well and happy . . . I gather the dog is important to you? We'll see!' The criminal has hit the Manhattan couple where it hurts most. And so, with this bizarre event, their nightmare begins. A Dog's Ransom captures the fragility of middle-class life in this riveting, scathing tale.

Virago

A Game for the Living

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

Small g: A Summer Idyll

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

Completed just months before Patricia Highsmith's death in 1995, Small g explores the labyrinthine intricacies of passion, sexuality, and jealousy in a charming tale of love misdirected.'What is most remarkable in this novel is the empathy . . . with which Highsmith writes about gay men . . . one can imagine the small g existing, a piquant mixture of bohemianism and respectability, exactly as Highsmith describes it' Francis King, SpectatorAt the 'small g', a Zurich bar known for its not exclusively gay clientele, the lives of a small community are played out one summer.Rickie Markwalder is a designer whose lover Petey was brutally murdered. Rickie and his performing dog Lulu are regulars at the bar, as are vindictive Renate, a seamstress, and her teenage apprentice Luisa. Into their lives comes Teddie, impressionable and beautiful, and a catalyst for the series of events that will change everything.Patricia Highsmith's final novel is an intricate exploration of love and sexuality, the depths of spite and the triumph of human kindness. It is a work that, in the tradition of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, shows us how bizarre and unpredictable love can be. Small g, in the words of her biographer Andrew Wilson, is an 'extended fairy tale suggesting that...happiness is precarious and...romance should be embraced.'

Virago

The Boy Who Followed Ripley

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

The Talented Mr Ripley

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

Ripley Under Ground

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

This is the second novel in Highsmith's hugely influential, groundbreaking Ripley series.'The No.1 Greatest Crime Writer' The TimesTom Ripley is now the owner of a beautiful estate in France, a wealthy art collector and married to an heiress. The Buckmaster Gallery is staging an exhibition by the celebrated artist, Derwatt, but an American collector claims that the expensive masterpiece he bought three years ago is a fake. It is, of course and he wants to talk to Derwatt - but Derwatt, inconveniently, is dead.Ripley needs the perfect solution to keep his role in the fraud a secret and his reputation clean, but not everyone's nerves are as steady as his. Especially when it comes to murder.Ripley Under Ground is an ingenious novel of masks and identity, illusion and reality, and is followed by Ripley's Game, The Boy Who Followed Ripley and Ripley Under Water.