By Andrew Wilson
Patricia Highsmith - writer of STRANGERS ON A educate and THE gifted MR RIPLEY - had greater than her fair proportion of secrets and techniques. in the course of her lifestyles, she felt uncomfortable approximately discussing the resource of her fiction and refused to reply to questions on her deepest lifestyles. but after her demise in February 1995, Highsmith left at the back of an enormous archive of private records - diaries, notebooks and letters - which aspect the hyperlinks among her existence and her paintings. Drawing on those intimate papers, including fabric gleaned from her closest acquaintances and enthusiasts, Andrew Wilson has written the 1st biography of an writer defined by way of Graham Greene because the 'poet of apprehension'. Wilson illuminates the darkish corners of Highsmith's lifestyles, casts mild on mysteries of the artistic technique and divulges the secrets and techniques that the author selected to maintain hidden till after her death.
Edgar Award (2004)
whereas British journalist Wilson's portrait of Highsmith (1921-1995) is neither sleek nor fluid, it truly is as haunting and as chilling because the tales and novels Highsmith crafted over greater than 50 effective years. the writer of Strangers on a teach and 5 novels that includes the amoral and murderous Tom Ripley, Highsmith completed huge severe acclaim in her local usa, yet by no means offered good the following. She used to be greater bought in Europe and that used to be the place she made her domestic. The biographer's exhaustive cognizance to aspect coupled along with his entry to Highsmith's journals (or "cahiers," as she referred to as them) and letters, and wide interviews together with her neighbors, fans and co-workers, permit him to bare in excruciating aspect this very deepest individual. Highsmith emerges as a lady of significant intelligence, candor and interest, but additionally as a racially prejudiced, anti-Semitic and insensitive boor. She used to be an acute observer able to seizing a unmarried incident and reworking it right into a advanced tale. yet she used to be not able to rework her personal unsatisfied existence. in its place she transmuted her problems, her stories, her observations into her paintings. one among her fans saw, "If she hadn't had her paintings, she could were despatched to an insane asylum or an alcoholics' home.... She was once her writing." Highsmith's paintings has had a huge effect on either crime fiction and homosexual and lesbian fiction, and Wilson has impressively documented that in addition to the large fee Highsmith paid for her achievements.
-- Publishers Weekly
'A interesting, fantastically balanced and meticulously researched biography, bringing us as on the subject of realizing Highsmith as we're ever more likely to get' Sunday Telegraph 'Wilson has delved with striking diligence, and every little thing he has unearthed is remarkable' Mail on Sunday 'Excellent and outstandingly readable ... amazing and compelling' day-by-day Mail 'An exemplary biography of a tortured, tough and outstandingly proficient human being'
-- Sunday Times
Fans of Patricia Highsmith's darkish and annoying fiction will unquestionably locate Andrew Wilson's biography a completely interesting if sometimes harrowing analyzing event. Highsmith's lifestyles used to be faraway from a cheerful one, in truth in lots of methods it can be charitably defined as a catastrophe. Wilson movingly information her unhappy, stricken adolescence and early life in which Highsmith built an obsession with grotesque loss of life and rot that will hang-out her brief tales and novels. As an grownup, her many sexual encounters continuously led to disappointment. With advancing age, Highsmith grew to become ever extra distrustful and finally hateful of humankind. Wilson portrays a supremely proficient yet cold-hearted, misanthropic lady who used to be eminently unlikeable, even downright detestable. (One of Highsmith's publishers describes her as "the so much odious lady I've ever met.") All of this unhappiness and depression makes us comprehend and delight in her aggravating creations all of the extra. as well as supplying us with a close glimpse into the unusual lifetime of one of many most interesting modern mystery writers, Wilson provides a lot to our appreciation of her paintings by way of supplying concise and revealing analyses of her top works. So stable is that this exhaustive biography that when you've entire it you'll are looking to instantly choose up a replica of not anything THAT MEETS the attention (or any of the opposite presently to be had Highsmith collections) and renew your acquaintance with this wonderful, morbidly attractive writer.