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Strangers on a Train Paperback – August 17, 2001
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From Library Journal
From the I can't believe this is out of print department comes Highsmith's white-knuckler and the basis of the Hitchcock film of the same name. With this, her first novel, Highsmith set the pattern she would follow in later books, introducing sociopaths who are so subtle they can pass unnoticed in the world around them.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“An incredible study of psychological torture and how fine the membrane is between normality and the underlying darkness.”
- Tana French
“Strangers on a Train is a moral-vertigo thriller: Crime and Punishment for a post-atomic age.”
- Tom Nolan, The Los Angeles Times
“Strangers on a Train is filled with paranoia and anxiety, and through its twists and turns, we, like poor Guy Haines, are also drawn into psychopath Bruno's web.”
- Sarah Pinborough, author of Behind Her Eyes
Top customer reviews
Honestly I could not sympathize with the protagonist and he seemed far too passive, whiny and far from the complex. His foil was developed as flawed and totally without any redeeming qualities, the complete antithesis of Guy. I can see why Hitchcock wanted to make this a movie, mainly to correct its flaws and bring some fetal tension and humanity into this story.
"The train tore along with an angry, irregular rhythm. it was having to stop at smaller and more frequent stations, where it would wait impatiently for a moment, then attack the prairie again. But progress was imperceptible. The prairie only undulated, like a vast, pink-tan blanket being casually shaken. The faster the train went, the more buoyant and taunting the undulations. Guy took his eyes from the window and hitched himself back against the seat. Miriam would delay the divorce at best, he thought."
Here, meanwhile, are the opening sentence of this eBook:
"The train rushed along angrily. Guy was thinking about Miriam. He saw her round pink face, her cruel mouth … he started to hate her."
I don't know who took it upon themselves to rewrite Highsmith's book, but this version (ASIN: B01FKPEFP0; published by "MUMOO") isn't her novel.
The actual eBook of Strangers on a Train is published by W. W. Norton & Company. This reads more like an unauthorized, bootleg version that would be better titled STRANGERS ON A TRAIN FOR DUMMIES. I don't know why Amazon is allowing this garbage to be sold on its site. Beware.
* * * * *
Any fan of the Hitchcock film will immediately understand why the famed late director scooped up the film rights to this novel. The premise alone deserves the reader's utmost respect. Two strangers get wrapped up in the perfect crime that escalates into the most horrific journey into the human psyche.
Up and coming architect Guy Haines is traveling by train to meet his estranged wife Miriam to pursue a divorce. Miriam has given Guy nothing but heartache, nothing but trouble, and his nerves are getting the better of him. What if she refuses the divorce? He has a lot riding on this. He has a big job in the works that could finally make for him the name he's been waiting to make. He also has a wonderful supportive woman, Anne, waiting to give her his hand in marriage. He needs this divorce more now than ever.
Charles Bruno so happens to be traveling on the same train. Bruno is traveling to escape his father, a man he abhors with every fiber in his body. His father has denied him all that he feels he is entitled to, and he's come to loathe him in such a way that his death seems all Bruno can think of. If only his father were out of the picture, if only somehow, someway he could be rid of this horror of a man.
And with that the wheels begin to turn, as Guy meets Bruno and Bruno delves deeply into this man, winning over his trust and then devising a plan which involves a double homicide, the two of them trading off murders. It seems so perfect, Bruno, who has no relation to either Guy or Miriam, kills Miriam to free Guy of his ex and in return Guy murders Bruno's father. Guy immediately dismisses the idea as a sick joke and from that point on does all he can to avoid Bruno. Bruno on the other hand doesn't so easily forget Guy, and he decides to go ahead with the plan whether Guy wants to participate or not, but it's after he's snuffed the life out of Miriam that the trouble really begins.
In order for a plan like this to work the two parties would need to remain separate, distant and out of touch, but Bruno slowly becomes obsessed with Guy, falling in love with him in a way and begins to haunt, stalk and torture (mentally) Guy to the point to sheer insanity. The novel continues to weave Bruno's twisted web and we, the reader, are able to sit back and experience madness at its most effective. Patricia was able to paint this picture so clear that we are left with no feeling other than contentment and pure satisfaction. Yes, this novel plays out differently than the famed film, but that's no reason to disregard the novel altogether. It's worth every word penned!