October 27, 2013

The Opening Paragraph of "Strangers On A Train"

"The train tore along with an angry, irregular rhythm. It was having to stop at smaller, more frequent stations, where it would wait impatiently for a moment, then attack prairie again. The process was imperceptible. The prairie only undulated. like a vast, pink-tan blanket being casually shaken. The faster the train went, the more buoyant and taunting the undulations."
--- Strangers On A Train, Patricia Highsmith


  1. This was the only Patricia Highsmith book (of the seven or eight I've read) which I didn't like. That's a beautiful image though. I like her prose style a lot. Very plain and spare, generally, and yet very atmospheric.

    1. Interestingly, after the first paragraph, I am having a difficulty to continue. The story bores me. But another two books I just finished (Edith's Diary and A Suspension of Mercy) brought me tremendous joy of reading.

    2. I haven't read either of those you mention, Yun Yi. I liked the Ripley books (and Ripley himself, strangely). I also liked The Blunderer (the first Highsmith I read) and The Tremor of Forgery. Also the French film Plein soleil (1960).

    3. I know Ripley series and watched the film "Talented Ripley" long time ago. Just got the book and will read it soon. It was said that Ripley was actually her own portrait, and Highsmith was bi-sexual. Anyway, she was a very special and talented writer. Too bad her works were not well-known in this country (US), except the one we both do not like :-)