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This Sweet Sickness Paperback – October 17, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reissue edition (October 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393323676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393323672
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #536,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

[Highsmith] is no more a practitioner of the murder mystery genre than are Dostoevsky, Faulkner and Camus. -- Joan Smith, Los Angeles Times

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.

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.

Customer Reviews

Very few of her protagonists, consequently, are female.
Kenneth Hand
The book is redeemed by its final forty pages--the very end is quite moving, actually.
Marlowe
This is without question Patricia Highsmith's finest novel.
"vortex87"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 2, 1997
Format: Paperback
David Kelsey is a scientist whose unrequited love for a woman named Annabelle has not diminished over time, even though she has gone on to marry another man and give birth to a baby. Highsmith's protagonist--like most Highsmith protagonists--has a sense of perverse righteousness and a profound freight of guilt that he carries everywhere. The dreariness of the setting--largely a rooming house in a sad little upstate New York town--creates a nice counterpoint for this tale of consuming love and delusion. The final pages of the book, which take David into full-scale psychosis, are truly stark and believable. This, we feel, must be what it's like to be insane. And the last line of the book is, well, a killer
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By lazza on December 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
This Sweet Sickness is a short yet accomplished work by Patricia Highsmith which chronicles the life of a young man obsessed with a former (and now married) girlfriend. He is completely delusional in thinking their relationship lives on, and his mental state degrades rapidly with rather disturbing (and violent) consequences. As usual, Patricia Highsmith unveils the 'sickness' of her main character very slowly. This allows the reader to really judge matters from the main character's perspective, regardless of his/her mental state.
The only negative aspect with This Sweet Sickness is how the police force are viewed, in general, as incompetent in solving a murder (..I won't say who is killed, nor divulge whom the killer is). Other Highsmith novels portray the police as cold yet extremely capable. This mistreatment of the police force almost turned me off from This Sweet Sickness completely. However all is forgiven with the novel's ending, which is truly beyond belief (let's just say the main character's mental state is completely shattered). It is perhaps one of the most memorable endings to any novel I have read.
So This Sweet Sickness is a worthy read overall.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an quite interesting story about a man's desperate love for a girl that is out of his reach. It also contains some psychological aspects which give an even more thrilling touch to the novel. Patricia Highsmith perfects the art of transporting the reader into a dangerous, double-edged world of crime and lies. It's absolutely worth reading.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Hand on August 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
Earlier a reviewer wrote that Highsmith "hated men." This is entirely untrue: If you read her biography by Wilson, which includes excerpts and information from her diary, you will see that in fact she was a huge fan of the male sex and considered males superior in many respects to females. Many of the female characters in her books were problems for her to develop (one example from her diary is Heloise in the Ripley books) because she didn't feel she could identify with them. Very few of her protagonists, consequently, are female.

This Sweet Sickness exhibits first and foremost Highsmith's ability to deal with human emotion and the depth of the human psyche in her literature. The protagonist's desperation throughout the novel is obvious to the reader, although it does not actually fully surface until he starts to slip in the final chapter, and this exemplifies Highsmith's style. The police chase through Central Park is one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever read, and the climax that follows is successfully and powerfully tragic.

This Sweet Sickness is a terrific novel that follows the usual Highsmith "formula" but with a unique, and heartbreaking ending. A recommended read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By RCM VINE VOICE on September 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
Patricia Highsmith was a gifted novelist who could make the most unlikeable characters come to life and, moreover, make the reader root for her unsavory creations. Tom Ripley, her model of the amoral hero, is definitely the pinnacle of all of Highsmith's characters, but the flavor of what made the Ripley novels so ingenious is missing from "This Sweet Sickness". While David Kelsey, the main character in this novel, shares some characteristics with Highsmith's usual narrators, his focus is obsessively short-sighted and drawn out far too long.

David Kelsey, a gifted scientist stuck in a menial job, is obsessed by the girl who got away - Annabelle. When David took his out of state job to make money to marry the girl of his dreams, the girl of his dreams married another man. But this doesn't stop David from pursuing her. He buys a house in a nearby town, decorating it with items he knows Annabelle will like, and living a double life within his mind on these weekends he spends at his house. For while David is a model citizen to those who share the boarding house he lives in, few are aware of the lies David has told and his increasingly stalker-like behavior of the married Annabelle. When David's letters and phone calls only serve to outrage Annabelle's husband, David finds the idyllic false life he has built up for himself take a murderous turn. Yet he cannot give up the life he has created for the one that is real, no matter how much further into trouble he plunges.

"The Sweet Sickness" is an enjoyable read, but it can be a bit wearisome at times and is perhaps more dated than other Highsmith works. It also seems that the story is overly long, at least by one hundred pages, and maybe would've functioned better as a short story.
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