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on March 6, 2016
This is the story of Robert, who comes to new area to escape the throes of a pending divorce from Nickie. He is a prowler ,watching Jenny. He eventually becomes involved with Jenny. She loves Robert, he is not sure. They spend nights together but do not sleep with one another. There is a strong shift in the book after Robert is physically attacked by Greg, Jenny's erstwhile fiance. This has been called Highsmith's most spectral novel. I agree. The violence in the book, from Roberts' point of view, is unwanted, unintended and inevitable. This is a very unusual but compelling story. It borders on being unbelievable, but, as usual, Highsmith gets away with it.
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on October 30, 2000
I guess I just don't get it. "The Cry of the Owl" shows promise early in the story as Robert, a nice but confused young man becomes involved (implausibly!) with Jenny,a nice young woman any guy would like to meet and date. But how many girls invite peeping Toms in for coffee instead of calling the cops? The story proceeds apace with actions, characters, dialog and plot twists that simply seem increasingly unreal. I know this is fiction but Ms. Highsmith writes as though she has lived her life in an ivory tower. People like this-except for good old Jenny- just don't exist. Read the book and email me that you believe Nickie! To give the author her due, there is a definite sense of gloom right from the start and the characters, especially Greg and the cop, Lippenholz, add to the depressed aura of foreboding. The book reads quickly.The depressed small Pennsylvania town setting is just right. But then nothing happens- or maybe something did and I just missed it. And if you understand the "ending", you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din. It's back to Ann Rule for me!
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on January 11, 2014
not everyone will love this book, but of those i know who've read it, all feel that it's one of the more elegant and spare mysteries we've read. highsmith's economy of words belies the immense detail given the reader, and the slow action hides activity in multiple locations that eventually comes to the fore only at the end. i didn't want this one to end. loved it.
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on July 26, 2016
Highsmith sometimes depicts law enforcement as a quicksand that, once touched on, pulls helpless victims down deeper and deeper. This novel is a brilliant exploration of that theme. Robert, the central character, is a manic-depressive who is mostly depressive. He encounters Jenny, also melancholy but loving and understanding. Offsetting her are a couple of Highsmith's colorful monsters: Robert's ex-wife and Jenny's ex-boyfriend. The conflicts among these figures is as involving as appalling, and leaves Robert in deadly trouble. Robert is an inverted version of the central character in This Sweet Sickness, and Jenny is an inversion of Anabelle, of the same novel. .In both stories, tragedy strikes the bearer of unrequited love. In both, a valuable if flawed human being is sacrificed by a world that finally becomes too harsh. This is first-rate Highsmith; you will read it in one sitting.
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on August 19, 2013
Patricia Highsmith's work fascinates me. Every book I have read of hers is entertaining..strange themes, always the mystery and her work never fails to grab my interest early on. Was this a strange turn of events ? Was it strange this guy was watching her ? Yes, stranger than that is she let him. Very good twist.
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on June 25, 2011
I first watched the movie made from this book. After watching it, I had to read the book. I found the story to be engrossing. One bad incident for Robert leads to another, and then another. The story does end with a good tone, but for what Robert goes through is the ending really that good? The story incorporates twists and turns, which keeps you in the story till the end. Good book.
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on February 10, 2015
A page turner. Not completely satisfied by the ending.
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on January 2, 2015
I liked the Ripley movies and have always wanted to read a book by Patricia Highsmith. This was offered as a Kindle discount deal, and as I've been trying to get used to reading on the Kindle, I took my chance to try one of her books. The characters and story were interesting enough to keep my attention, and a lot of crazy things happened rather quickly. But where was the ending? I kept thinking there was something wrong with the kindle version and the ending was cut off. There was no ending! It just stopped, thud, like a screeching train come to a quick stop. I would still like to read another of hers though, as maybe this wasn't one of the better. Maybe I'll try the Ripley series.

Someone here mentioned that it was the worst book they had ever read. Apparently they haven't read "Gone Girl". Ha ha.
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on January 7, 2015
Patricia Highsmith writes novels that are never predictable. I would like a more satisfying ending, but it would not be her style. A. Valentine
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on October 4, 2016
Tremendous suspense and character development.The author shows fantastic and unpredictable imagination.I thoroughly enjoyed this story and was eager to finish it.
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