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Strangers on a Train (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

"Highsmith perfectly encapsulates the hypocrisy of appearance-obsessed post-war America in this novel. The plot of two men on a train swapping murders is as creative today as when she wrote the novel in the early 50s. Patricia Highsmith may, for the most part, have hated people, but man did she understand them."

— Molly


The world of Patricia Highsmith has always been filled with ordinary people, all of whom are capable of very ordinary crimes. This theme was present from the beginning, when her debut, Strangers on a Train, galvanized the reading public. Here we encounter Guy Haines and Charles Anthony Bruno, passengers on the same train. But while Guy is a successful architect in the midst of a divorce, Bruno turns out to be a sadistic psychopath who manipulates Guy into swapping murders with him. "Some people are better off dead," Bruno remarks, "like your wife and my father, for instance." As Bruno carries out his twisted plan, Guy is trapped in Highsmith's perilous world, where, under the right circumstances, anybody is capable of murder.

The inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1951 film, Strangers on a Train launched Highsmith on a prolific career of noir fiction, proving her a master at depicting the unsettling forces that tremble beneath the surface of everyday contemporary life.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393321982
ISBN-10: 0393321983
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: August 17th, 2001
Pages: 256
Language: English