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Deep Water Paperback – May 28, 2012
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“Highsmith is crime fiction's most lethal existentialist…[She] simultaneously makes the subconscious smile and the skin crawl.”
- Ed Siegel, Boston Globe
“So good and utterly addictive.”
- Megan Abbott, author of You Will Know Me
About the Author
Patricia Highsmith (1921–1995) was the author of more than twenty novels, including Strangers on a Train, The Price of Salt, The Blunderer and The Talented Mr. Ripley, as well as numerous short stories.
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Top Customer Reviews
As other critics have noted. Patricia is not a crime writer, and this is said in the most praising way. She is a fascinating observer of human nature, the darker sides of desires and presents it all to us with a detached viewer's eye to the lives of these people.
Without giving too much away, the plot seems straightforward. We have Vic Van Allen, whom everyone in the community is somewhat puzzled by, as his wife, Melinda, openly has affairs with men he holds with the highest contempt. The descriptions of these men through Vic's eyes paint a most unflattering picture. But, to the bewilderment of everyone in the community, he makes no comments about these brazenly displays of being cuckolded, and is rather pleasantly surprised when he lies about a murder to one of them. This one lie, leads to a complete turnaround in his amicable nature, and sets off a chain of rather surprising events which lead to the book's gripping conclusion.
Highsmith really has a gift at keeping me hooked. I opened the book late in the evening, and the next time I noticed a clock, it wa near midnight and I could not put it down. I just had to know what was going to happen next. I already am browsing titles and have another book on order as I am writing this. A brilliant read by a great author.
I guessed the ending early on, worth .5 of a star as well. That said, the slow poisonous atmosphere, mounting tension and brooding character of Vic are so perfectly rendered that I couldn't wait to get back to the story. His snail collection, meticulous printing and strange bond to the natural and mechanical world held my fascination.
Highly stylized, funny and dark.
Vic is a strange character -- unemotional, quiet, patient, and as it turns out, repressing great rage. On the outside, he seems far less offended by his wife's blatant philandering than the rest of the town. But every now and then he gets pushed too far and eliminates the offending obstacles in his own detached way. While his actions are vicariously satisfying to any normal person, the fact that he feels no remorse -- or even elation -- afterward is what makes him less human.
There are moments in this book so vivid and visceral that they just might stay with me forever, and that is what I love about Patricia Highsmith.