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Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781474617628

Price: £30

ON SALE: 16th November 2021

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Diaries, Letters & Journals

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‘It promises to be one of the literary highlights of 2021 – publication of the diaries of Patricia Highsmith, one of the most conflicted, fascinating novelists of the 20th century’ Edward Helmore, Guardian

‘My secrets-the secrets that everyone has-are here, in black and white.’
Published for the very first time for the centenary of her birth, Patricia Highsmith’s diaries and notebooks offer an unparalleled, unforgettable insight into the life and mind of one of the 20th century’s most talented, complex and fascinating writers.

Posthumously discovered in Highsmith’s linen cupboard and edited down from 56 thick spiral notebooks by her devoted editor, Anna Von Planta, this one-volume assemblage of her diaries and notebooks traces Highsmith’s mesmerising double life.

The diaries show Highsmith’s unwavering literary ambitions – coming often at huge personal sacrifice. We see her writing the books that would make her name, including the Ripley novels which mark the apotheosis of the psychological thriller, and The Price of Salt (later adapted into the 2015 film Carol), one of the first mainstream novels to depict two women in love.

In these pages, we see Highsmith reflecting on good and evil, loneliness and intimacy, sexuality and sacrifice, love and murder. We see her tumultuous romantic relationships play out alongside her acquaintances with other writers including Jane Bowles, Aaron Copland, John Gielgud, Truman Capote, Carson McCullers, Arthur Koestler, and W. H. Auden. And in her skewering of McCarthy-era America, her prickly disparagement of contemporary art, her fixation on love and writing, and ever-percolating prejudices, we see the famously secretive Highsmith revealing the roots of her psychological angst and acuity.

Written in her inimitable and dazzling prose and offering all the pleasures of Highsmith’s novels, these are one of the most compulsively readable literary diaries to be published in generations – and yield, at last an unparalleled, unfiltered, unforgettable picture of this enigmatic, iconic, trailblazing author’s true self.

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Reviews

The whole book is excellent. Highsmith is pointed and dry about herself and everything else. But the early chapters are special. They comprise one of the most observant and ecstatic accounts I've read - and it's a crowded field! - about being young and alive in New York City
New York Times
Offers the most complete picture ever published of how Highsmith saw herself
New York Times
One of the finest writers in the English language
Richard Osman
One of the literary highlights of 2021
Guardian
I don't think I've ever met a person as troubling or intelligent, frustrating and frustrated, and triumphantly alone. A master diarist as much as novelist. Highsmith's Her Diaries and Notebooks are a portrait of a time, a long passage from the forties to the nineties, and you've never travelled on this perspective before
Eileen Myles
Highsmith's astonishing candour in the witness stand of her personal notebooks, and heartbreaking self-exposures in the jury box of her diaries, are like nothing else in American confessional literature
Joan Schenkar
I love Highsmith so much. What a revelation her writing was
Gillian Flynn
Few writers fathomed with such intensity the dark places of the human mind
Evening Standard
There is no one quite like Highsmith
Anita Brookner
Highsmith was every bit as deviant and quirky as her mischievous heroes, and didn't seem to mind if everyone knew it
J. G. Ballard