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Carol (Movie Tie-In) (Movie Tie-in Editions) Paperback – November 9, 2015
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“A document of persecuted love―perfect.” (The Independent)
“About the pursuit of love, and true happiness…It has characters who laugh, and who laugh without scorn or illusion…very recognizably Highsmith, full of tremor and of threat and of her peculiar genius for anxiety.” (The Sunday Times)
From the Back Cover
A chance encounter between two lonely women leads to a passionate romance in this lesbian cult classic. Therese, a struggling young sales clerk, and Carol, a homemaker in the midst of a bitter divorce, abandon their oppressive daily routines for the freedom of the open road, where their love can blossom. But their newly discovered bliss is shattered when Carol is forced to choose between her child and her lover.
Author Patricia Highsmith is best known for her psychological thrillers Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. Originally published in 1952 under a pseudonym, The Price of Salt was heralded as "the novel of a love society forbids." Highsmith's sensitive treatment of fully realized characters who defy stereotypes about homosexuality marks a departure from previous lesbian pulp fiction. Erotic, eloquent, and suspenseful, this story offers an honest look at the necessity of being true to one's nature.
Dover (2015) republication of the edition originally published by Bantam Books, New York, 1953.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
It wasn't a bad read, but it just didn't hook me the way that I had hoped it would hook me. Part of my dislike of the book came from the way the main character, Therese behaved. She was so far into her head and her own thoughts and would pick apart everything the other characters said to her to look for negative connotations with it. As a result, she said very few things out loud to the other characters in the book, but we do get a perspective into her mind. Unfortunately, her thoughts are all over the place.
Not only did the main characters negative attitude bother me, but her behaviors bothered me too. Towards the beginning of the book, a kind co-worker of Therese's invites her over for dinner. Therese arrives, doesn't say much (but has plenty of thoughts) and proceeds to pretend to fall asleep on this woman's couch only to sneak out in the middle of the night. Maybe it's just me, but I think that it's a strange thing to do. Therese did things like this all throughout the book, where I was left questioning why she did the things she did, unless it was to avoid awkward and unpleasant conversation?
I began to get frustrated with many of the characters throughout the book because nobody seemed to say what they wanted to say. I'm not sure if that's representative of the time period or a reflection of the way the characters function, but if they could have put their pride aside for just a little bit and been honest with each other, it would have been a lot less frustrating.
Overall, it's a unique love story. There's nothing sordid or risque about the content, it's just a simple love story with a unique set of characters. I don't think I would ever read this again, but I don't regret having done so.