Customer Reviews: The Price of Salt
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on March 24, 2005
The Price of Salt changed my life. I used to drive an ice cream truck in Long Beach CA and would stop by the pier at a used book store to search the racks of pulp fiction for anything that had a modicum of same sex content.

21 years old, knowing that I wanted to meet others of my kind, and the only literature I knew was Well of Lonliness, prison studies and pulp that either had the butch lesbian dying tragically or reformming into a femme.

Among the bunch of poorly writen pulp I bought, was a gem written by Claire Morgan. No one dies and they end with the possibility of a long term relationship. It was the first sense of hope that I had as a young lesbian in the sixties. It saved my life.

To anyone who is interested in GLB studies, this is a must read as it is a the first historical book with a positive ending.
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on January 8, 2016
I had never read a single same sex romantic novel before; however, the trailer for the movie version of this book was absolutely beautiful and interesting so I decided to give this book a try (since the movie hadn't come out at the time). I finished the book in one day. I just couldn't put the book down, it was simply too mesmerizing! I wasn't against homosexuality before but I wasn't interested in actively fighting for its rights either. After this book, I finally, truly understand the most universal concept of all: love is love. Love is powerful and beautiful and it should not be a crime to fall in love. Who are we to decide if love between a woman and another woman is as natural as between a man and a woman? In the end, love conquers all. This book exceeded all of my expectations and more. Patricia Highsmith, thank you for such a wonderful read!
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on November 3, 1999
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). This alone is not neccesarily compelling enough to get someone to read Salt, after all, today's gay and lesbian love stories often end in positive and fulfilled ways. But for Highsmith's Salt, written in the 1950s, this was a stretch. The reader will enjoy the subtleness of the prose and the indepth look at the confusion and chaos that can occur when two women come together and realize their mutual attraction and then love for each other. In addition, the novel is a dynamic look at 1950s America as the characters adventure out of New York and off into the Great American Wide Open. I encourage gay and straight readers to venture forth with Therese and Carol. Salt allows a beautiful look into the world of finding one's soul mate and falling in love. Becuase, above all, Highsmith has written a love story, not just a lesbian work of fiction.
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on December 17, 1999
I discovered this book, and my own sexuality, in the late "50's." Through the years it has been the one title and story that I have always remembered. Now, I've a new copy and reading it again has brought back all the memories of the first time I read it. A beautiful story with a beautiful ending... I only wish Highsmith had writen a sequel with Carol and Therese.
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on June 5, 2015
One of the best,if not the best, book written on same sex love by an excellent writer who chose not to sensationalize it. Even at
the time it was written (1952 or so) Highsmith chose to keep the story on a high level, to keep the main characters respectable
and decent. Compared to other books of its type written at the same time there is no comparison. As the Bible says, "where love
is, there God is also." And from what I've heard of the movie coming out this fall, Todd Haynes and those who worked with him, kept
the story on a respectable track. It'll make us all proud.
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VINE VOICEon February 7, 2005
In 1952 Patricia Highsmith composed this personal and revelatory classic. Harper & Bros, publisher of Highsmith's "Strangers on a Train," refused to issue this novel due to its controversial subject matter. The powers that be convinced Highmsith that publishing under her own name would adversely impact her career the way Gore Vidal's had initially been by "The City and the Pillar." The Naiad Press out of Tallahassee, Florida published this volume under the pseudonym Claire Morgan. Ironically, "The Price of Salt" became one of this author's best sellers. All that seems so long ago - another lifetime. Indeed, it's hard to conceive of Michael Cunningham or Tony Kushner having to contend with such issues. So, now that all of the controversy has abated we can judge this novel on it's own merits, and the verdict is a happy one. "The Price of Salt" is one of Highsmith's best efforts. This novel works on a number of levels. It is both a "coming out" story and a "love" story, with a bit of the author's trademark suspense thrown in for good measure. The story has an emotional honesty and autobigraphical sensibility; qaulities that are noticeably absent from much of her other work. I found myself pulling for Carol and Therese, and found the development of their relationship to be natural and true to life. The "happy ending" is achieved in an uncompromising fashion that doesn't feel false or contrived. I am reminded of a Stephen Sondheim lyric: "wishes come true, not free." These characters paid a price for their happiness - it wasn't free.
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on January 9, 2016
This edition by Norton republishing Patricia Highsmith's second novel, The Price of Salt, or Carol as later titled by the author, is worth its higher price than the other Kindle editions available that are fraught with typos and amateurish typesetting. I imagine most who are checking out reviews here have either already seen the movie Carol (based on the book) or plan to see the movie yet wish to read the book first. I had already read an earlier edition of The Price of Salt prior to seeing the movie recently. I'm glad I've invested in this Norton edition as it includes interesting and informative commentary from Highsmith shedding light into the backstory of her writing the novel mid-20th century in the first place.

For me, reading the book and experiencing the movie are a complete package. Like two persons who belong together, words well written and images well framed can be better appreciated than partaking of one without the other.

In terms of the novel, Highsmith's prose does a wonderful job of developing its characters, particularly the character Therese who is the story's protagonist. The novel is clearly written from Therese's point of view. It is a coming-of-age story about Therese and her experiences that lead her to falling in love with an older woman, Carol, who is in the midst of getting a divorce. Carol is torn between her love for her daughter, named Rindy, and her attraction and growing romantic love for Therese that puts Carol's relationship with her young daughter at risk. It is a dark story at times fraught with immense tensions and conflicts acutely felt but forcibly suppressed by certain characters as it takes place within the early 1950s. Such is a a time when same-sex attraction was considered both pathological and criminal if acted upon, and the novel's dialogue and narrative must be seen within this repressed societal context of the day. The novel is quite revolutionary for its time, carrying a somewhat ambiguous though positive ending for the two women in love rather than the typical tragic one, and the story continues to be relevant even today. The movie, as brilliantly directed and supurbly acted by all of its cast, and with its own rich historically accurate reproduction and visualization, has a few changes to the original plot that for me, work. I would say if you read the novel before seeing the movie, you will experience the movie more as an insider who recognizes these changes as something complimentary to Highsmith's story. By watching the movie, you can appreciate having greater insight into Carol's part within the story.

All said, the novel Carol is a worthy read for anyone who wants to read a complex yet ultimately uplifting love story that happens to be between two women who do not fit into the stereotypes for lesbian relationships of any period.
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on August 12, 2002
Although this book was first published in the early 1950's the majority of issues that both Therese and Carol confront are still applicable today. Sure, times have changed and we all want to believe that within the past five decades we, as a society, have become more enlightened about homosexuality but unfortunately there is still more room for improvement.
"The Price of Salt" is a moving story about the developing love between Therese and Carol that heightens during a road trip through America. What I was impressed with most was how the author paid little attention to the love scenes and rather focused on the emotions and desires that they shared with each other. Let's face it, most lesbian love scenes in books are less than fulfilling or satisfying and frequently are better left off the manuscript entirely. Also, there was no mention of the word "lesbian" throughout the entire book which is probably accountable to the time period it was written but nonetheless notable and admirable.
Overall, this book is a good read and I would recommend it to others.
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on September 8, 2015
This may-december romance set in the fifties is wonderful. I hadn't heard of it before (I'm Swedish) but found out about it as it is being turned into a movie (Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara) due in 2015.
Slight spoiler alert!!!!!
This story is great since it was one of the first, perhaps THE first?, that didn't have the lesbian lovers crash and burn. The buildup to them confessing to attraction, to love, was right up my alley. I'm so glad they're making a movie of this - this books deserves it!
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on September 10, 2015
Carol is one of the best books I have ever read. I am astounded that a book with such a hopeful ending and positive portrayal of lesbian characters was written in the 1950's. If I were a lesbian living during that time, I would hope that I'd have been able to get my hands on this book. Even now, it's inspiring, and the prose is just beautifully written. I will be looking into other books by Patricia Highsmith.
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