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Eleven [Paperback]

Patricia Highsmith
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 1991 Highsmith, Patricia
From the eerily outlandish to the dark and brutal, Eleven presents a gallery of bizarre characters, each driven by strange unspoken urges, whose cumulative effect is at least as unsettling as any of Highsmith's previous novels.

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Review

'Fabulous, in all senses of that word' Paul Theroux 'Miss Highsmith is a novelist whose books one can re-read many times. There are very few of whom one can say that' Graham Greene 'What is striking about these stories is their integrity: they are all of a piece ... a brilliant collection' Sunday Times 'The mood of nagging apprehension is consistent, skilfully underplayed so that just the right amount of chill is induced with an economy of means' New York Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Patricia Highsmith was born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1921. Her first novel, Strangers On A Train, was made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951. The Talented Mr Ripley, published in 1955, was awarded the Edgar Allan Poe Scroll by the Mystery Writers of America and introduced the fascinating anti-hero Tom Ripley, who was to appear in many of her later crime novels. Patricia Highsmith died in Locarno, Switzerland, in February 1995. Her last novel, Small g: A Summer Idyll, was published posthumously just over a month later. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
When Mr Peter Knoppert began to make a hobby of snail-watching, he had no idea this handful of specimens would become hundreds in no time. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A BRILLIANT COLLECTION... April 29 2003
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I first became aware of Ms. Highsmith through her wonderful book, "The Talented Mr. Ripley". Although I am not a big fan of short stories, I decided to take a chance on this book, as I so admired the author's talent. I am delighted that I did so, as this book contains a veritable treasure trove of literary gems.
Her stories range from the macabre to the suspenseful. What makes them particularly chilling is that many of them take place in otherwise mundane everyday settings with people who may be either quite ordinary or slightly bizarre, but to whom something extraordinary happens. These are stories that will capture the imagination of the reader. Some even reminded me a little bit of the stories of H. P. Lovecraft, as some of them contain a strong element of horror, crafted, however, in a most delicate, sublime fashion.
These eleven compelling short stories will keep the reader turning the pages of this marvelous little book. It is a book well worth having in one's personal collection. Bravo!
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5.0 out of 5 stars most of the stories deserved a five star rating Nov. 16 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
A couple of so-so stories in this collection, but most are extraordinary. "The Snail Watcher" is her most well-known story, and it is truly bizarre, but the best stories are more quietly unsettling, such as "Another Bridge to Cross" (which has an almost Hemingway feel to the writing), "When the Fleet Was In at Mobile," "The Herione," "Mrs Afton, among Thy Green Braes."
My two favorite stories are "Cries of Love," and "The Empty Birdhouse."
I've read a couple of critics and several readers who have suggested she was not as good a writer of stories as novels, but from this collection, at least, I would have to disagree. Now I prefer her novels, but these stories were as good as any writer's. A few times the reader is given the character's past in a lump dose that hurts the strength of the story, such as "The Heroine," and "The Empty Birdhouse," but that is an inherent obstacle of the short story format. I still had a good feel for those characters, and I still felt the overall impact of the story. Some truly great stories.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Even my mom likes it! Aug. 25 2000
Format:Paperback
I must confess at the start that this is not a totally objective review as this book will always be special to me in that it was the first book I have even managed to get my mother to enjoy! I cannot express how happy that makes me because my mother never reads, and as reading has always been my largest pleasure in life, there has always been that gap between us. But imagine my delight (and her delight) when she actually read a story that fascinated her, the first story in Eleven, about the man who kept snails as pets. In my mother's words, she enjoyed the story because the author was very good at writing about emotions and how people react in situations. That is exactly what I love about Highsmith's books. She makes the intricate emotional linkages that are usualy unanalysed and obscured very clear. In a way she is also pointing out to us how WE act, and feel, and making that clear - reading her books always makes me feel as though I was reminded of an emotion. Anyway, mum's just finished the fourth story about the terrapin (which is an award winning story) and joyfully telling me about each story as she goes along. Hope you enjoy it as much as she does.
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3.0 out of 5 stars all of Highsmith's talents in bite-sized pieces Jan. 27 2001
By lazza
Format:Paperback
Highsmith is noted for her novels of odd (read: neurotic) individuals who often exhibit some sort of criminial behaviour. I am certainly a Highsmith devotee. 'Eleven', a collection of 11 short stories, is my first taste of Patricia Highsmith in smaller doses.
As with most collections of short stories, 'Eleven' is a hit-and-miss affair. The stories are at minimum competent, with a couple being quite interesting (, creepy, weird, et al). Unfortunately unlike with her novels, these compact stories do not play to Highsmith's strengths - that is, dissecting her characters and their phobias.
However I do recommend 'Eleven' for those who simply don't have the time or patience to read Highsmith's novels. It certainly makes for excellent commuting reading material.
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