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Strangers on a Train [Kindle Edition]

Patricia Highsmith
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A major new reissue of the work of a classic noir novelist.

With the acclaim for The Talented Mr. Ripley, more film projects in production, and two biographies forthcoming, expatriate legend Patricia Highsmith would be shocked to see that she has finally arrived in her homeland. Throughout her career, Highsmith brought a keen literary eye and a genius for plumbing the psychopathic mind to more than thirty works of fiction, unparalleled in their placid deviousness and sardonic humor. With deadpan accuracy, she delighted in creating true sociopaths in the guise of the everyday man or woman. Now, one of her finest works is again in print: Strangers on a Train, Highsmith's first novel and the source for Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1953 film. With this novel, Highsmith revels in eliciting the unsettling psychological forces that lurk beneath the surface of everyday contemporary life.


Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Highsmith's 1950 debut novel made her famous (and inspired a Hitchcock film) but, unlike some of her later titles, was never recorded. William Roberts does the reading honors.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Strangers on a Train is a moral-vertigo thriller: Crime and Punishment for a post-atomic age.” (Tom Nolan - The Los Angeles Times)

Product Details

  • File Size: 869 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (June 4, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007Q6XIVO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,616 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Classic Criss-Cross May 26, 2005
Format:Paperback
Patricia Highsmith (1921-1991) was among the most lauded of the "noir" writers, an author who published over twenty books and won such prestigious prizes as the O. Henry Memorial Award and the Edgar Allan Poe Award. But in spite of her tremendous fame in Europe, she did not win fame in her native United States until after death, when the 1999 film version of her 1955 novel THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY at last brought her work the recognition it had long deserved.

The 1950 novel STRANGERS ON A TRAIN was Highsmith's first novel, and the premise was so intriguing that no less than legendary director Alfred Hitchcock snapped up the movie rights and turned it into one of his most admired films. The Hitchcock film is a classic of its kind--but even so the novel was both too hot and too dark to be filmed "as is" in the repressive 1950s. Readers who come to the book from the film are in for a surprise.

The very famous point on which the plot turns, however, is the same. Two men, Guy and Bruno, meet by chance on a train and pass the time in conversation. Each reveals to the other that a specific person stands in the way of happiness: for Guy, it is a wayward wife who refuses to give him a divorce; for Bruno it is a stubborn father who refuses him money. When Bruno playfully suggests that he will kill the wife for Guy if Guy will kill the father for Bruno it seems like a bad-taste joke... But Guy will soon discover there is nothing to laugh about at all.

From this opening salvo Highsmith unwinds and rewinds her plot in a manner distinctly different from the Hitchcock film, and even today the book is best known for its fiendish storyline.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lesson in uneasiness & the nature of evil February 27, 2005
Format:Paperback
Charles Bruno is not the kind of man you want to confide in, but Guy Haines doesn't listen to his inner voice telling him just that. Under the influence of liquor and the lull of a moving train, he confides in Bruno, revealing his deep distaste for Miriam, his estranged, pregnant, wife.

Thus begins an unrelenting path of secrets, lies, obsession and murder. The fascination lies in Highsmith's ability to twist the everyday into nightmare. Strangers on a Train, is taut, well-crafted, and difficult to put down. It's a brilliant example of suspense done right, & a blueprint for legion's of mystery novels to come.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can hardly find the words June 14, 2000
Format:Paperback
I cannot believe that A) only one Amazon customer has written areview of this book or that B) it is out of print! WHAT! This is,quite simply, one of the finest novels I have ever read. It was as tough to put down as any other book I've encountered, and at times as profound as Shakespeare. I've yet to discover any other writer besides Highsmith whose books are both absolutely riveting and thoroughly penetrating about the human condition. At times, it was so suspenseful I thought I was going to have a heart attack. The only other experience I've had in life that was as ravaging as this book is sex. Yet despite its at-times horrifying suspense, it is excruciatingly compassionate; the ending made me weep. Highsmith's characters are unbelievably real; I still can't figure out how she makes us care so much about people who are so flawed and sinful. It's as close to the divine as a writer can get. WOULD SOMEBODY PLEASE PUT THIS BOOK BACK IN PRINT SO I CAN GIVE A COPY TO EVERYONE I KNOW! END
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Patricia Highsmith was ahead of her time, constructing the perfect crime novel long before it would truly be appreciated. Sadly she was never as famously accepted as she could have been while still living, but thanks to reprints and reissues her novels are being given a new breath of life. Now I say all of this and I have only had the pleasure of reading one of her novels, but that novel was so articulately perfect that I have nothing but the utmost respect for the late author. `Strangers on a Train' is so brilliantly crafted that I'm racking my brain to find a flaw, a drawback of some sort and the only thing I can muster is that here and there there are some grammatical errors, but other than that...I'm coming up empty handed.

Any fan of the Hitchcock film will immediately understand why the famed late director scooped up the film rights to this novel. The premise alone deserves the reader's utmost respect. Two strangers get wrapped up in the perfect crime that escalates into the most horrific journey into the human psyche.

Up and coming architect Guy Haines is traveling by train to meet his estranged wife Miriam to pursue a divorce. Miriam has given Guy nothing but heartache, nothing but trouble, and his nerves are getting the better of him. What if she refuses the divorce? He has a lot riding on this. He has a big job in the works that could finally make for him the name he's been waiting to make. He also has a wonderful supportive woman, Anne, waiting to give her his hand in marriage. He needs this divorce more now than ever.

Charles Bruno so happens to be traveling on the same train. Bruno is traveling to escape his father, a man he abhors with every fiber in his body.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent insight into a (two?) Psychopath! Brilliant!
Published 10 days ago by Simone Houlihan
4.0 out of 5 stars Guy the architect vs Guy the tennis player.
Loved it. Inspired me to read Ripley books. Movies don't come close to novels.
Published 13 days ago by June
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm a huge fan of Patricia Highsmith's works. This ...
I'm a huge fan of Patricia Highsmith's works. This was her first novel and I couldn't put it down. The suspense had me riveted. No wonder Alfred Hitchcock had to have it.
Published 2 months ago by Babbo
4.0 out of 5 stars Tension makes it hard to put down.
It recently came to my attention that Patricia Highsmith authored The Talented Mr. Ripley. Since I had seen that movie, I knew I would want to check out her other books. Read more
Published 2 months ago by joel s
4.0 out of 5 stars Different from movie and certainly worth reading
A solid crime novel. I noticed many differences from the Alfred Hitchcock movie. This story is much darker than that tale and well, Guy is not the nice, innocent victim so much... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Anthony Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good.
Published 3 months ago by Roxene Herrod
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Tense and gripping story. You know the protagonist will not do......exactly what they do.
Published 3 months ago by wwI maven
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
It was recommended, and I usually enjoy Patricia Highsmith.
Published 4 months ago by Booklover
4.0 out of 5 stars A cautionary tale about talking to strangers
Paperback (edit)

review
Architect Guy Haines is on a train to Texas to see his estranged wife Miriam to discuss their divorce. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Barbara Saffer
4.0 out of 5 stars Oldie...but definitely a goodie
I loved the Mr. Ripley movie...so I thought I would try this novel by Highsmith. The plot is realistic and blends the wants
and needs of its main characters in a bizarre plan... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Joanne "Jody"
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