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D.A.N. Jones, 1 November 1984

by William Kennedy.
Viking, 227 pp., £7.95, September 1984, 0 670 40176 5
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In Custody 
by Anita Desai.
Heinemann, 204 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 9780434186358
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Flaubert’s Parrot 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 190 pp., £8.50, October 1984, 0 241 11374 1
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... dealings with one another while no woman is present: in this she resembles the more hard-hearted Patricia Highsmith. It is not until page 58 that a woman appears – and then she is presented as a shrewish wife. In fact, all three of the principal females are seen as shrewish wives: yet somehow, with considerable subtlety, Anita Desai has written a ...

Writing Absurdity

Adam Shatz: Chester Himes, 26 April 2018

Chester B. Himes: A Biography 
by Lawrence P. Jackson.
Norton, 606 pp., £25, July 2017, 978 0 393 06389 9
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... Yaddo to revise his prison novel, but spent much of his time getting drunk, and trying to seduce Patricia Highsmith, a 26-year-old Barnard graduate from a Texas slaveholding family who ‘consistently tried to tackle Chester on his own turf: evil and sexuality’. Himes was writing about his affair with Rico while ...

Ravish Me

Daniel Soar: Sebastian Faulks, 5 November 2009

A Week in December 
by Sebastian Faulks.
Hutchinson, 518 pp., £18.99, September 2009, 978 0 09 179445 3
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... can take seriously a writer who disguises inventive thinking in spy capers and gun-plots, or, like Patricia Highsmith, in the simplest murders, whereas I can only laugh at someone of comparable cleverness who’s into chemises and silk shifts. Formally, there shouldn’t be a difference. It’s a genre: games are played with it. But historical romance ...

Sleepwalker on a Windowledge

Adam Mars-Jones: Carmen Maria Machado, 7 March 2019

Her Body & Other Parties 
by Carmen Maria Machado.
Serpent’s Tail, 245 pp., £8.99, January 2019, 978 1 78125 953 5
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... textbook now features a liturgical calendar, its red-letter days including ‘the Exaltation of Patricia Highsmith, celebrated with escargots boiling in butter and garlic and cliffhangers recited by an autumn fire; the Ascension of Frida Kahlo with self-portraits and costumes; the Presentation of Shirley Jackson, a winter holiday started at dawn and ...

Laertes has a daughter

Bee Wilson: The Redgraves, 6 June 2013

The Redgraves: A Family Epic 
by Donald Spoto.
Robson, 361 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 1 84954 394 1
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The House of Redgrave: The Lives of a Theatrical Dynasty 
by Tim Adler.
Aurum, 336 pp., £20, July 2012, 978 1 84513 623 9
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... daughter Daisy Bevan will appear in her first feature film, The Two Faces of January, adapted from Patricia Highsmith. (The casting director has claimed to have been unaware of who she was, even though the film is being produced by Working Title, Tim Bevan’s production company.) Lynn said there was a gene running through all the Redgraves with a ...

In His Pink Negligée

Colm Tóibín: The Ruthless Truman Capote, 21 April 2005

The Complete Stories 
by Truman Capote.
Random House, 400 pp., $24.95, September 2004, 0 679 64310 9
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Too Brief a Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote 
edited by Gerald Clarke.
Random House, 487 pp., $27.95, September 2004, 0 375 50133 9
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... Truman Capote, in his letters, made many judgments. He recommended the young and unpublished Patricia Highsmith to Yaddo in 1948. In 1949 he recommended Angus Wilson’s first book to Cecil Beaton. That same year, however, when Arthur Miller won the Pulitzer for Death of a Salesman, he thought the news ‘quite tiresome’. Later in 1949, he ...

Chop, Chop, Chop

Adam Mars-Jones: ‘Grief Is the Thing with Feathers’, 21 January 2016

Grief Is the Thing with Feathers 
by Max Porter.
Faber, 114 pp., £10, September 2015, 978 0 571 32376 0
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... lived: ‘She won’t ever use (make-up, turmeric, hairbrush, thesaurus)./She will never finish (Patricia Highsmith novel, peanut butter, lip balm)./And I will never shop for green Virago Classics for her birthday.’ These curtailed, interrupted, suspended activities correspond to a present tense that has been abruptly abolished. Mourning is a wound ...

You better not tell me you forgot

Terry Castle: How to Spot Members of the Tribe, 27 September 2012

All We Know: Three Lives 
by Lisa Cohen.
Farrar Straus, 429 pp., £22.50, July 2012, 978 0 374 17649 5
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... the gallery owner Betty Parsons – even the kooky, spooky, more-than-a-little-ropey Patricia Highsmith, a gothic late-life pal, intriguingly, of Murphy’s. It’s true that the polyamorous de Acosta accounted for many, if not most, of the downright sexual conquests here. To read about her star-studded sex life is to be reminded of those ...

Desperately Seeking Susan

Terry Castle: Remembering Susan Sontag, 17 March 2005

... she thought I should include: most interestingly, perhaps, her favourite steamy love scene from Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 lesbian romance novel The Price of Salt. As far as Sontag was concerned, Highsmith’s dykey little potboiler – published originally under a pseudonym – was right up there with Buddenbrooks ...

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