December 13, 2014

Meet The Genius Highsmith On A Train!

I mentioned earlier in my blog that Edith Diary was my best pick among all Highsmith's books I had read, but now I found I was wrong, because after I finished Strangers On A Train, I had to put it on top of Edith Diary and The Talented Mr. Ripley. As matter of fact I was speechless! (As one of comments in Amazon put: "The only other experience I've had in life that was as ravaging as this book is sex.") I wish I read this book before I watched the movie, though the movie is significantly different from the book (except the first one third, which probably was the reason I did not continue reading the book last year. Also I must to say that the movie loses all profoundness of the book).

I would like to write a more comprehensive review on this masterpiece in future but right now, I need to vent out my owe!

1, this book is not (only) about murder, but the complication of human psyche. It is a combination of psychological suspense and a philosophical inquiry of (dark) human mental condition. Arguably no one has depicted this meticulously tangled web of human mind as immaculate/breathtaking as Highsmith.

2, I know that Highsmith was highly influenced by Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment, but personally, I found Highsmith's work is even better than former, for the complex under her pen is even more complicated, and the story is more suspenseful (I read Crime and Punishment decades ago so I could be very subjective on this comparison).

3, I can tell that the main characters "Guy" and "Bruno" are the one person, who was based on Highsmith's herself. I even think that the fact Guy Haynes is referred by his first name, and Charles Bruno by his last name through entire book was Highsmith's purposeful design, which implies that they are different part of one entity.

4, Dostoevsky wrote Crime And Punishment in his 40s, but Highsmith wrote this book only in her 20s. How could a person in such young age handle something so complicated, and conveyed it so perfectly in a suspenseful story? I can only believe she had a genius mind.

Highsmith was such a fascinating figure and I only wish I knew her in person!

6 comments:

  1. Wow. I'm glad to know that you enjoyed this one so much.
    Yes, she is a fascinating writer. I agree with you.

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    1. Thanks Julia.
      Yes I enjoyed it so much. As I mentioned that I once tried to read it but somehow I didn't finished, possibly because the movie's misleading, also could be because I was not in the mood. It is indeed a masterpiece!
      P.S, I went to re-read your review and left another comment, mainly for correct the "error" in my previous comment. :-)

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  2. You've made me want to go out and get the book.
    Great review :)

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    1. Thanks Angie! Give it try sometime.

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  3. Great review, Yun, and now I really have to read this book, especially since Highsmith can depict the “meticulously tangled web of human mind” so breathtakingly that you are left speechless! It must be a very high caliber of writing to be more complex and complicated than Dostoeveky’s “Crime and Punishment,” and incredible that she wrote such a work while only in her 20s. By all accounts, she appears to be a fascinating genius. I would have liked to have met her as well!

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    1. Thanks Madilyn! Yes, I love her writings, though her style is quite plain. So many women fell for her and I can only imagine her striking talent and personality.

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