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Deep Water Paperback – July 17, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reissue edition (July 17, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393324559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393324556
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #256,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“The things that are suspenseful, that I find frightening, aren't someone jumping out of a closet or those kind of big scares, but instead that slow build of dread, and [Highsmith] does that really well. She kind of takes you by the hand and walks you toward the cliff.” (Gillian Flynn - Wall Street Journal)

“An atmosphere of nameless dread, of unspeakable foreboding, permeates every page of Patricia Highsmith, and there's nothing quite like it.” (Boston Globe)

About the Author

Patricia Highsmith (1921–1995) was the author of more than twenty novels, including Strangers on a Train, The Price of Salt and The Talented Mr. Ripley, as well as numerous short stories.

Customer Reviews

I found this book to be very well written and a fast read.
Joan Teetzel
Deep Water was a focused story taking pains to describe the main character in an ever interesting fashion.
stanna panna
A bit entertaining but it all ends in a few pages which was disappointing.
Bob Wagner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Debra Hamel VINE VOICE on November 12, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thirty-six-year-old Victor Van Allen is being cuckolded, quite blatantly. For a number of years his wife Melinda has paraded a succession of lovers around their small town of Little Wesley, Massachusetts, dragging the men along to the Van Allens' dinner engagements with friends, dancing with them provocatively, entertaining them in night-long debauches in the Van Allens' home. Victor's friends shake their heads or offer him extra desserts at parties--pity food--and they marvel at his reaction to the insult: Victor is a paragon of patience. He allows Melinda her lovers, only wishing that she attracted a higher quality paramour. Still, Victor is not as unconcerned about Melinda's behavior as he appears. He regularly forces himself to stay awake and chaperone his wife's "dates" in their living room rather than please the couple by retiring to his separate bedroom. And, near the beginning of the novel, Victor announces to his wife's most recent flame that he once killed a lover of hers, a certain Malcolm McRae. Victor is lying, but McRae *had* been pummeled to death in his New York apartment, and his murderer had not been identified.

This being a Patricia Highsmith novel, it cannot be a good thing for our put-upon protagonist to confess to a murder he did not commit, and the reader begins at once to wonder how this misstep of Victor's will lead to his undoing. But it is unlikely that readers will correctly anticipate precisely how Victor's story plays itself out.

Patricia Highsmith--the author of, among many other novels, Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mister Ripley--is a master of suspense. Deep Water shares with her other books a certain remarkable slowness. Highsmith's characters unhurriedly attend to the minutiae of their lives.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By "vortex87" on August 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
I'm happy that this -- one of Patricia Highsmith's finest novels -- is back in print, because it deserves to be read.
The set-up is that Vic and Melinda are unhappily married, but rather than divorce, since they have a daughter, he lets her go off and have affairs (this seems quite an interesting concept to have proposed in 1957, when this book came out) -- and you'd think that surely, a little jealousy might come in on his part, right? Right. . . . And from here, it goes off in some interesting directions. I really didn't expect the ending. And now that it's finally available, go ahead and get it! You're missing a great novel otherwise.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a story about the complicated and very obscure structures of social life in the suburbia of New York. It's the story of the quite nice guy who becomes a murderer. The most remarkable thing in my opinion is the fact that you, as the reader, identify yourself with Vic Van Allen, the evil one, the murderer. You can understand him and his acting, you get the feeling that he is the betrayed one, the victim, but in fact he is the bad one, he is a murderer! That's very special.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By H. Schneider on March 29, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another brilliant story of bottled up emotions, of a protagonist who seems to be free of passion, seemingly has no sexual urges, takes insult with apparent lack of interest, and yet slowly builds up the pressure until he erupts.
Vic, the typically Highsmithian hero, is almost too good to be true, as a father, as a friend, as a neigbour, as an employer, as a professional. And then of course he isn't all that good. We might have guessed.
We have a hard time understanding his patience with his wife. We never quite understand how he can play along for years.
The plot starter is quite original: Vic's wife is outrageously unfaithful, but he is not yet known to be in the least jealous; surprisingly, he starts a rumour that he killed a former lover of his wife's. This is for a time quite effective in scaring away new suitors. Then, in a way unfortunately, the real killer gets caught. Vic has lost some of his status in the neighbourhood, and then he crosses the step from fantasy to reality. In order to rebuild the mystery surrounding him?
One wishes him well, hopes he will get away with it. That is the main driver of considerable suspense in this masterpiece.
One of her best.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By K. Dain Ruprecht on May 19, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book, written in the late 1950's, is about an intelligent, sensitive, and wealthy society man who is married to a nasty stupid alcoholic sl-t who OPENLY cheats on him with a succession of random men. He puts up with it for a long time and then he kills one of her lovers. He "gets away with it" for a while... It's a typical Highsmith theme. But there are some interesting undercurrents. The husband is reluctant to divorce his wife, and yet he admits to himself that he has no desire whatsoever to sleep with her -- or any other woman, for that matter. The implication is that he is gay. This is another typical Highsmith theme. The strangest thing is not her penchant for stories about ordinary people who commit atrocious crimes on a whim -- it's her PACING. Personally, I find it mesmerizing. She just "normalizes" the hell out of everything by taking her protagonist through his day detail by detail -- what he wears, what he cooks for dinner, etc. Then he commits murder, disposes of the body -- and goes back home and makes dessert. She almost never makes any personal judgements about her characters, although her protagonists tend to be highly intelligent and culturally refined men. Their killings tend to appear "justified" in that the victims are stupid and/or smarmy. A lifelong lesbian, HIghsmith can be really unsympathetic to her female characters, especially if they have big behinds. (her male protagonists frequently express disgust with pear-shaped women). Her world view is pretty skewed, messed up even. I mean, she was a MISOGYNIST LESBIAN, for God's sake. But it's so refreshing, especially compared to all the kinetic, wordy, phony, ultra-PC, show-offy new fiction out there today. This is not really one of Highsmith's BEST (that would be, IMO, "Edith's Diary", "This Sweet Sickness", "A Tremor of Forgery" or "The Price of Salt") but it is well worth reading if you love her style as much as I do.
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More About the Author

Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995) was the author of more than twenty novels, including Strangers on a Train, The Price of Salt and The Talented Mr. Ripley, as well as numerous short stories.

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