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132 of 137 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Happy Ending... For a Change.
I was introduced to Therese and Carol, the two protaganists in Highsmith's lesbian romance The Price of Salt, my Sophomore year of college in a Gay and Lesbian Lit. Class. The professor told the class she had picked the book becuase it was well written and it presented an interesting twist to a gay love story, no one dies or goes straight at the end(imagine that)...
Published on November 3, 1999

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buyer beware
Be aware that the edition with the photo of two women on the cover, published by Createspace, is probably a pirated version. It claims the copyright was never renewed, but it wouldn't need to be as Highsmith only died in 1995. And W.W. Norton still sells the paperback. The formatting of this one is awful, with lines broken and dialogue running together. This edition isn't...
Published on June 15, 2012 by ElaineB


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you could want from a novel, September 26, 2009
This review is from: The Price of Salt (Paperback)
Carol/ The Price of Salt was originally published under the pseudonym Claire Morgan in 1952, before this reviewer was born, but it feels far more relevant than many novels I have read, lesbian or straight, because Patricia Highsmith is the kind of writer with the kind of almost creepy sense of detail that makes you feel like you are present and experiencing everything the protagonist is experiencing, from the sore feet from working too long hours at the department store to the moment she falls in love with a customer.
"Her mouth was as wise as eyes, Therese thought, and her voice was like her coat, rich and supple, and somehow full of secrets."
Therese is poor and young, dating a young man, and Carol is rich, beautiful, and ... married, with a young child and a husband who is very possesive, vindictive and cruel.

The novel turns into a love story, a thriller, and also into a young woman's journey into independence and her quest to do what she is meant to do; be who she is meant to be; love the woman she cannot stop loving, regardless of social norms, or differences in ages, and regardless of differences in social background, and despite all kinds of prejudice and threats.

The Price of Salt, or Carol, is one of my absolute favourite novels, all genres, all times, and also my favourite Patricia Highsmith novel.

L. Holm author
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Novel, Strong Love Story, October 6, 2008
This review is from: The Price of Salt (Paperback)
Unlike Terry Castle of "The New Republic", I'm not convinced that Nabokov used Carol and Therese's trip in "The Price of Salt" as a template for the extended "vacation" that Humbert Humbert and Dolores Haze took in "Lolita". If he did, he expanded it in richness and depth about a thousand-fold. "The Price of Salt", while no "Lolita", is an interesting (and unusual) work in its own right. Carol and Therese meet in the toy section of the department store where the latter works; they embark on a friendship, and fall in love. Carol happens to be married (separated, to be exact). She also happens to have a young daughter. (Even today, one should be able to sense certain ethical issues rearing their ugly heads. Having said that, noone behaves as badly as Harge, Carol's narcissistic, winner-take-all husband.) It takes the two women quite awhile to sleep together, so those in search of quick, cheap thrills will undoubtably be disappointed. And when they finally do, Highsmith's prose drifts into the nebulous vagaries of poetry, reminding us that this was, indeed, written in the 1950's. The novel is, first and foremost, a love story. It is not in any way, shape, or form, a sex manual.
While "The Price of Salt" didn't seize and possess me the way Jane Rule's "Desert of the Heart" did--which isn't all bad--I felt it gradually trickle into the parched nooks and crannies of my aging yet inquisitive mind. (And what lesbian, repressed or not, could turn these strange, mystifying pages without wanting, at least a little, to take Therese's place one night in one of those not-so-anonymous hotel rooms?)
The ending, I have to say, is rather abrupt. It left me with the exasperating "That's it!?" sensation--you know the feeling. All and all, though, "The Price of Salt" is a solid novel featuring a strong love story, made even more compelling because of the taboo nature of homosexuality at the time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not complete, September 14, 2012
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This review is from: The Price of Salt (Kindle Edition)
The author is good at dialogue, a bit of suspense, and expressing thoughts/considerations via some of her characters, but the whole story just doesn't come together. I like it, when considering the time-period it was written in, and realize it's limited by the tight parameters of many lesbian relationships during the mid 1900s. It seems the author had a difficult time really putting her characters "out" there and as a result they didn't seem to come to fruition at any point. In other words, parts of all of these characters (and not just their sexuality) are still in the closet. There is not a full unraveling of anyone, and for me, the best part of any story is witnessing the entirety of a character (good, bad, light, dark, sweet, sour, etc). There are just too many images, characters, and story lines that are incomplete. I finished this book because the infamous reviews all stated it contained "the first happy ending with a lesbian storyline". Well, I guess that depends on what you consider a happy ending? In order to be clear, I completely disagree that this has a happy ending, but I would be giving too much of the story away if I explained why--- I'm not one for spoiler alerts. I will just say: If you deal with one element of the story, then I suppose we can agree it's somewhat of a happy ending, but if you bring in the full reality of what has taken place and which characters lose something significant, you probably won't feel like you're on the happy train.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First Love, December 2, 2010
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This review is from: The Price of Salt (Paperback)
"I feel I stand in a desert with my hands outstretched, and you are raining down upon me." Many novelists have tried to capture the thrill of first love. It is, surely, the eternal subject, but also the one most likely to turn to cliché. Treat it too romantically, and you risk being sappy; too physically, and you risk losing the internal essence. So it is quite an achievement when Patricia Highsmith, writing in 1952, draws us into the heart of Therese Belivet, an aspiring stage designer in New York, in a dead-end relationship with a boyfriend, whose life is totally transformed when she meets somebody new. Highsmith beautifully captures her excitement at that first meeting, her disbelief that this could really be happening, her reluctance to put a name to her feelings, her outpouring of emotion in thoughts not spoken and letters not sent, the stabs of irrational jealousy -- all the way to eventual declaration, delirious acceptance, and the pain of the first real problems.

A common enough story. But what makes Highsmith's version special is that Therese's love is not for a man but a woman. The book was published under a pseudonym, Claire Morgan; the subject was too risqué for its time, and her regular publishers rejected it. They had had a great success with Highsmith's first novel, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (which was later made into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock), and wanted to promote her as a suspense writer. But even Highsmith's suspense books are novels first and genre pieces second; her work has always been distinguished by its psychological penetration. So although this book apparently became a lesbian cult classic, its importance has less to do with the titillation of its subject (and certainly not with its physical side) than with Highsmith's ability to cast new light on the old subjects of love, loyalty, and self-discovery.

I have to say, though, that this leisurely book may disappoint readers looking for something more eventful. It is not, for instance, a suspense story, although there are hints that it might become one as Carol, Therese's new friend, takes her in a road trip across country, packing a revolver in her luggage, and trying to stay one step ahead of the private investigator hired by her estranged husband. The book jacket proclaims this as "the novel that inspired LOLITA," quoting Terry Castle in THE NEW REPUBLIC saying that "Highsmith was the first writer to mix roadside Americana, transgressive sex, and the impinging threat of a morals charge." But Highsmith is a much soberer writer than Nabokov, and what might have been transgressive then seems almost normal now. It is true that, as in most of her novels, Highsmith brings her characters to the point of questioning or even discarding their moral assumptions, but that is a common characteristic of fine fiction. So far from treating abnormal behavior, she has found a way to portray ordinary life experiences as an achingly immediate part of our moral universe.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Major Novel, no doubt, March 30, 2010
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This review is from: The Price of Salt (Paperback)
There is a strong lesbian theme and the book may have influenced Nabokov's Lolita--but those aren't why this book should be considered a major novel. It is beautifully written, subtle, daring, suspenseful. Just a great book. Highsmith went on to write far darker and weirder novels but this is one of her best.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Price was Worth It, June 14, 2008
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ViAmber (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Price of Salt (Paperback)
I love Patricia Highsmith with her sadistic view of human nature. Her description of the character's boyfriend (his forehead reminding her of a whale and his hands looking like paws) was hilarious. She is an excellent writer who uses similes and metaphors well. Not to mention the unconventional story for that day and time!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Moving Work, February 28, 2007
By 
Reader (Paris, France) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Price of Salt (Paperback)
This is a very good book in many different respects, as the other reviewers have noted. For me, it contains one of the best, most well-timed, and well-placed "I love you" statements in all of recent literature.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I just want to cry..., January 28, 2014
This review is from: The Price of Salt (Kindle Edition)
This is the kind of book you can't put down. Once it's finished you just want to start right over because the love-affair in the book begins at the beginning but then begins again at the end. Just like love, it's never over, it's never done, it goes on and on until your unable to form thoughts and remember things. You can forget all you want but things are bound to remind you and stir you up.

That this book had to end, that actually brought me pain. It's a feeling more than a story and the story is in the feeling.

I've never read a book that so closely related to my own life and my own experience with love. It's not simply about a woman who falls in love with another woman it's about how they fall in love and how communication is so easily misconstrued, while all the while being absolutely essential, and how secrets are sometimes necessary and how we can actually ruin each other before we even begin to mend each other's wounds. We fall before we catch and love is a series of falls.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Novel, December 16, 2010
By 
Daniel Gamboa (Valencia, Venezuela) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Price of Salt (Paperback)
I was always a little reluctant to read this novel because I've never been into romantic novels. However, I like Patricia Highsmith's books, so I decided to go for it after being in my bookcase for a year.

What a fine novel! There's the apprehension typical in Highsmith's books. Therese is a character in crisis. I admit that she comes off as a bit naive and infantile now and again, but one of the points of this novel is to show Therese's coming of age without making it a cliche. In the book, she grows from an insecure and naive girl into a woman who knows what she wants and embraces who she is.

I wish the ending of this novel weren't of common knowledge. I would've enjoyed it so much more if I'd not known how it ended, but that never stopped me from feeling intrigued and hooked up by the plot. I've just finished it and I still feel under the spell of this fine book.

I do admit that Carol and Therese should've interacted more or have more meaningful dialogues. Sometimes, I felt as if they had a crush on each other, the way teenagers do, rather than actually being in love.

"The Price of Salt" is among my favorite books along with "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and "Strangers on a Train".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tour de force, July 27, 2010
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This review is from: The Price of Salt (Paperback)
I just read this book on a friend's recommendation. It's an incredibly powerful, nuanced, beautiful love story. As someone who came late to her sexuality, I appreciated Carol's double life--as a wife and mother on one hand, and as a woman in love on the other. Highsmith has created two memorable, affecting characters who stay with you long after you finish the book. Her portrait of the consequences of coming out in the 50s is chilling--all the more so when you realize how little has changed in many areas of this country.
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The Price of Salt
The Price of Salt by Claire Morgan (Paperback - January 26, 2012)
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