Yun Yi's Stuff

Meet The Genius Highsmith On A Train!

Posted on: December 13, 2014

I mentioned earlier in my blog that Edith Diary was my best pick among all Highsmith’s books I had read, but now I found I was wrong, because after I finished Strangers On A Train, I had to put it on top of Edith Diary and The talented Mr. Ripley. As matter of fact I was speechless! (As one of comments in Amazon put: “The only other experience I’ve had in life that was as ravaging as this book is sex.”) I wish I read this book before I watched the movie, before I knew anything about it.

I would love to write a more comprehensive review on this masterpiece in futre but right now, I need to vent out my owe!

1, this book is not (only) about murder, but the complication of human psyche. It is a combination of psychological suspense and a philosophical inquiry of (dark) human mental condition. Arguably no one has depicted this meticulously tangled web of human mind as immaculate/breathtaking as Highsmith.

2, I know that Highsmith was highly influenced by Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment, but personally, I found Highsmith’s work is even better than former, for the complex under her pen is even more complicated, and the story is more suspenseful (I read Crime and Punishment decades ago so I could be very subjective on this comparison).

3, I can tell that the main characters “Guy” and “Bruno” are the one person, who was based on Highsmith’s herself. I even think that the fact Guy Haynes is referred by his first name, and Charles Bruno by his last name through entire book was Highsmith’s purposeful design, which implies that they are actually the same person.

4, Dostoevsky wrote Crime And Punishment in his 40s, but Highsmith wrote this book only in her 20s. How could a person in such young age handle something so complicated, and conveyed it so perfectly in a suspenseful story? I can only believe she had a genius mind.

Highsmith was such a fascinating figure and I only wish I knew her in person!


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