Patricia Highsmith - The Blunderer - Little, Brown Book Group

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    • ISBN:9780349004532
    • Publication date:07 May 2015
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The Blunderer

A Virago Modern Classic

By Patricia Highsmith

  • Paperback
  • £8.99

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.

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: 9780349004525
  • Publication date: 07 May 2015
  • Page count: 304
  • Imprint: Virago
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
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

Now a major motion picture starring Viggo Mortenson and Kirsten Dunst.'Highsmith is a giant of the genre. The original, the best, the gloriously twisted Queen of Suspense' Mark BillinghamTwo men meet in the picturesque backstreets of Athens. Chester MacFarlane is a conman with multiple false identities, near the end of his rope and on the run with his young wife Colette. Rydal Keener is a young drifter looking for adventure: he finds it in one evening as the law catches up to Chester and Colette, and their fates become fatally entwined.Patricia Highsmith draws us deep into a cross-European game of cat and mouse in this masterpiece of suspense from the author of The Talented Mr Ripley.

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
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

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

The Boy Who Followed Ripley

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

The continuing adventures of Ripley, played by Matt Damon in The Talented Mr Ripley.When a troubled young runaway arrives on Tom Ripley's French estate, he is drawn into a world he thought he'd left behind: the seedy underworld of Berlin, involving kidnapping plots, lies and deception. Ripley becomes the boy's protector as friendship develops between the young man with a guilty conscience and the older one with no conscience at all.The Boy Who Followed Ripley is followed by Ripley Under Water.

Virago

Deep Water

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

The Tremor of Forgery

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

Edith's Diary

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

Little Tales of Misogyny

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

'These little tales are tremendous fun, glorious hand grenades lobbed at the reader by a gleeful, cackling Patricia Highsmith' Dan Rhodes Little Tales of Misogyny is Highsmith's legendary, cultish short-story collection. With an eerie simplicity of style, Highsmith turns our next-door neighbours into sadistic psychopaths, lying in wait among white picket fences and manicured lawns. In these darkly satirical, often hilarious, sketches you'll meet seemingly familiar women with the power to destroy both themselves and the men around them. 'The No.1 Greatest Crime Writer' The Times

Virago

A Suspension of Mercy

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

'Highsmith's novels are peerlessly disturbing . . . bad dreams that keep us thrashing for the rest of the night' New YorkerSydney Bartleby has killed his wife. At least, he has thought about it, compulsively, repeatedly, plotting schemes, designing escapes, forging alibis. Of course he has; he's a thriller writer. He even knows how to dispose of her body. But when Alicia takes a long, unannounced holiday, Sydney descends into the treacherous world of his own fantasy.A masterpiece of noir fantasy in which Highsmith revels in eliciting the unsettling psychological forces that lurk beneath the surface of everyday life.

Virago

Those Who Walk Away

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

The Glass Cell

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

'The Glass Cell has lost little of its disturbing power . . . Highsmith was a genuine one-off, and her books will haunt you' Daily TelegraphPhilip Carter has spent six years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. On his release his beautiful wife is waiting for him. He has never had any reason to doubt her. Nor their friend, Sullivan. Carter has never been suspicious, or violent. But prison can change a man.In 1961, Patricia Highsmith received a fan letter from a prison inmate. A correspondence ensued and Highsmith became fascinated with the psychological traumas that incarceration can inflict.

Virago

Nothing that Meets the Eye

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

'These tales should not be glanced at by those with even the slightest history of poor mental health . . . Highsmith's dark humour oozes through this new collection like a particularly delicious poison' Andrew Wilson, Independent on SundayThis volume of stories spans almost fifty years of Highsmith's career, allowing us to see how she evolved from a struggling freelance writer in New York to one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. The stories assembled in Nothing That Meets the Eye, written between 1938 and 1982, are vintage Highsmith: a gigolo-like psychopath preys on unfulfilled career women; a lonely spinster's fragile hold on reality is tethered to the bottle; an estranged postal worker invents homicidal fantasies about his coworkers. While some stories anticipate the diabolical narratives of the Ripley novels, others possess a sweetness that forces us to see the author in a new light.These are suspenseful, playful, taut and psychologically gripping stories, evidence of an extraordinary talent.

Virago

The Animal Lover's Book of Beastly Murder

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

'Highsmith writes the verbal equivalent of a drug - easy to consume, darkly euphoric, totally addictive . . . (She) belongs in the moody company of Dostoevsky or Angela Carter' Time OutNowhere is Patricia Highsmith's affinity for animals more apparent than in The Animal-Lover's Book of Beastly Murder, for here she transfers the murderous thoughts and rages most associated with humans onto the animals themselves. You will meet, for example, in 'In the Dead of Truffle Season', a truffle-hunting pig who tries to whet his own appetite for a while; or Jumbo in 'Chorus Girl's Absolutely Final Performance', a lonely, old circus elephant who decides she's had enough of show business and cruel trainers for one lifetime. In this satirical reprise of Kafka, cats, dogs, and breeding rodents are no longer ordinary beings in the happy home, but actually have the power to destroy the world in which we live.

Virago

Tales of Natural and Unnatural Catastrophes

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

'Master storyteller Highsmith offers an eerily up-to-date collection of modern horror tales' Publishers WeeklyPatricia Highsmith, an American who lived most of her life in Europe, was the author of such bestselling crime novels as Strangers on a Train, and The Talented Mr. Ripley. The stories collected here are classic Highsmith - eerie, prescient and chilling, catastrophes caused by human error and dark motives. Whether evoking the White House under siege by the homeless or a 190-year-old woman perpetually near death and dimly glowing, each tale refuses to release you from its tense grip.