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Eleven Paperback – July 12, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 191 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; Reissue edition (July 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802145302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802145307
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,078,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“What is striking about these stories is their integrity: they are all of a piece; they grow, with that tensed-spring inevitability of the unfolding rose observed by elapsed-time photography; together they are a brilliant collection.” —The Sunday Times (London)

“The mood of nagging apprehension is consistent, skillfully underplayed so that just the right amount of chill is induced with an economy of means.” —J. R. Frankes, The New York Times Book Review

“Highsmith is the poet of apprehension rather than fear. . . . In her short stories Highsmith naturally has to adopt a different method. She is after the quick kill rather than the slow encirclement of the reader, and how admirably and with what field-craft she hunts us down.” —Graham Greene

“Highsmith’s genius is in presenting fantasy’s paradox: successes are not what they seem . . . Where in the traditional fairy tale the heroine turns the toad into a prince, in Highsmith’s fable the prince becomes a toad—success is nearly always fatal. . . . Combining the best features of the suspense genre with the best of existential fiction—a reflection—the stories are fabulous, in all senses of that word.” —Paul Theroux

"A brilliant collection.” —The Sunday Times (UK)

“One of the truly brilliant short-story writers of the 20th century.” —Otto Penzler

"She’s sui generis, a writer of almost occult power.”—Richard Rayner, Los Angeles Times

About the Author

Patricia Highsmith was born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1921. Her first novel, Strangers On A Train, was made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951. The Talented Mr Ripley, published in 1955, was awarded the Edgar Allan Poe Scroll by the Mystery Writers of America and introduced the fascinating anti-hero Tom Ripley, who was to appear in many of her later crime novels. Patricia Highsmith died in Locarno, Switzerland, in February 1995. Her last novel, Small g: A Summer Idyll, was published posthumously just over a month later. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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I highly recomend this book as it is the best story book i have read in a long time.
V. Bernal
In a way she is also pointing out to us how WE act, and feel, and making that clear - reading her books always makes me feel as though I was reminded of an emotion.
"pure-swallow"
Patricia Highsmith is a wonderful story teller, and with Eleven she masters the short story genre.
Adriana Villanueva

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
A couple of so-so stories in this collection, but most are extraordinary. "The Snail Watcher" is her most well-known story, and it is truly bizarre, but the best stories are more quietly unsettling, such as "Another Bridge to Cross" (which has an almost Hemingway feel to the writing), "When the Fleet Was In at Mobile," "The Herione," "Mrs Afton, among Thy Green Braes."
My two favorite stories are "Cries of Love," and "The Empty Birdhouse."
I've read a couple of critics and several readers who have suggested she was not as good a writer of stories as novels, but from this collection, at least, I would have to disagree. Now I prefer her novels, but these stories were as good as any writer's. A few times the reader is given the character's past in a lump dose that hurts the strength of the story, such as "The Heroine," and "The Empty Birdhouse," but that is an inherent obstacle of the short story format. I still had a good feel for those characters, and I still felt the overall impact of the story. Some truly great stories.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By lazza on January 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
Highsmith is noted for her novels of odd (read: neurotic) individuals who often exhibit some sort of criminial behaviour. I am certainly a Highsmith devotee. 'Eleven', a collection of 11 short stories, is my first taste of Patricia Highsmith in smaller doses.
As with most collections of short stories, 'Eleven' is a hit-and-miss affair. The stories are at minimum competent, with a couple being quite interesting (, creepy, weird, et al). Unfortunately unlike with her novels, these compact stories do not play to Highsmith's strengths - that is, dissecting her characters and their phobias.
However I do recommend 'Eleven' for those who simply don't have the time or patience to read Highsmith's novels. It certainly makes for excellent commuting reading material.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Adriana Villanueva on July 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
Patricia Highsmith is a wonderful story teller, and with Eleven she masters the short story genre. Her tales are not easy; its a world of strange and obssesive people who always push their obsessions to the limit, and you as a reader will feel involved in this claustrophobic world. So beware when you're reading it, you may feel someone strangely breathing on your neck.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael G. VINE VOICE on May 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a collection of 11 Patricia Highsmith stories written over a 25 year period. The stories originally appeared in a diverse sampling of publications running the gamut from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine to Harper's Bazaar. The best story in this collection is "Mrs. Afton, among Thy Green Braes" and the second best is probably "The Empty Birdhouse".

Potential readers should be aware that two of the stories, "The Snail-Watcher" and "The Quest for Blank Claveringi", are about snails (a long time Highsmith obsession) and would be better suited for inclusion in an anthology of science fiction.

Most of the selections included in Eleven illustrate the author's recurring theme about seemingly ordinary people being capable of horrendous acts. Patricia Highsmith possessed a real knack for manipulating her readers so as to elicit very visceral reactions. In the extreme, such manipulations can be uncomfortably cringe inducing. The two stories in this collection which go the farthest in demonstrating this point are "The Birds Poised to Fly" and "The Cries of Love". Both stories feature characters who display inexplicable cruelty to others in order to satisfy inchoate urges emanating from deep within.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
Patricia Highsmith has enjoyed a higher profile recently almost entirely due to the film adaptation of her novel "The Talented Mr Ripley".
This collection of 11 short stories show why she is considered by many to be a mistress of chilling suspense. All of the stories begin innocently enough, but an air of expectation is always just around the corner. Often the payoff comes in the last few lines, but what a payoff indeed! The outstanding story has to be "When The Fleet Was In At Mobile" with it's horrific revelations. Do not read these late at night, as your dreams will become nightmares.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "pure-swallow" on August 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
I must confess at the start that this is not a totally objective review as this book will always be special to me in that it was the first book I have even managed to get my mother to enjoy! I cannot express how happy that makes me because my mother never reads, and as reading has always been my largest pleasure in life, there has always been that gap between us. But imagine my delight (and her delight) when she actually read a story that fascinated her, the first story in Eleven, about the man who kept snails as pets. In my mother's words, she enjoyed the story because the author was very good at writing about emotions and how people react in situations. That is exactly what I love about Highsmith's books. She makes the intricate emotional linkages that are usualy unanalysed and obscured very clear. In a way she is also pointing out to us how WE act, and feel, and making that clear - reading her books always makes me feel as though I was reminded of an emotion. Anyway, mum's just finished the fourth story about the terrapin (which is an award winning story) and joyfully telling me about each story as she goes along. Hope you enjoy it as much as she does.
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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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