A Virago Modern Classic
By Patricia Highsmith
Edith's Diary is not a thriller, but a tautly written tale of one ordinary woman whose life is slipping out of control and whose grip on reality is loosening. It is considered by many to be Highsmith's masterpiece.
Edith Howland's diary is her most precious possession, and as she is moving house she is making sure it's safe. A suburban housewife in fifties America, she is moving to Brunswick with her husband Brett and her beloved son, Cliffie, to start a new life for them all. She is optimistic, but most of all she has high hopes for her new venture with Brett, a local newspaper, the Brunswick Corner Bugle. Life seems full of promise, and indeed, to read her diary, filled with her most intimate feelings and revelations, you would never think otherwise. Strange, then, that reality is so dangerously different . . .
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
- Publication date:
07 May 2015
- Page count:
Highsmith's novels are peerlessly disturbing ....bad dreams that keep us thrashing for the rest of the night — The New Yorker
Edith's fall takes the form of a psychological chiller, but there is also something larger, the poignancy of her struggle not to go under. She is betrayed by such ordinary dreams — New York Times
Highsmith probes to the very core of her heroine with a controlled ferocity and single-mindedness that illumines every page of her novel. It is a masterly book, a haunting book, a book that lingers long in the memory and constantly disturbs and delights. — The Times, The Times
A work of extraordinary force and feeling . . . her strongest, her most imaginative and by far her most substantial novel — New Yorker, New Yorker
As original, as funny, as cleverly written and as moving as any novel I have read since I started reviewing — Auberon Waugh, The Evening Standard
Edith's Diary is certainly one of the saddest novels I ever read, but it is also one of the mere twenty or so that I would say were perfect, unimprovable masterpieces — A.N Wilson, Daily Telegraph