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Found in the Street [Paperback]

Patricia Highsmith , Gary Fisketjon
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 31 1994 Highsmith, Patricia
When Ralph Linderman returns a stranger's wallet he found during a morning stroll through Greenwich Village, he is entirely unprepared for the complex maze of sexual obsession and disturbing psychological intrigue he is about to be drawn into. Patricia Highsmith, author of The Tremor of Forgery, Strangers on a Train, and The Cry of the Owl has once again created an unsettling thriller that explores the bleakest alleyways of human desire. Highsmith has been called “one of the finest crime novelists" by the New York Times and is now considered one of the most original voices in twentieth-century American fiction.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Highsmith is best known for Strangers On a Train, basis for the prizewinning Hitchcock film, one of her 19 eerie novels. The new one pulses with the beat of Greenwich Village where chance brings ill-assorted people together. Ralph Linderman, a middle-aged security guard, finds a wallet and takes it to its owner, artist Jack Sutherland who lives nearby with his wife Natalia and their small daughter. Meeting young Elsie Tyler, a waitress, Jack learns that Ralph harasses her continually, warning her away from "bad company." The girl's vivid beauty attracts Jack and bisexual Natalia, who team up with their bohemian friends and create a modeling career for Elsie, practically overnight. Trouble develops both from Ralph and from the girl's lesbian lovers, along with several curiously unrelated incidents that leave the reader vaguely unsatisfied. The story's intoxicating flavor and promise beg for a sounder structure than the ambiguous ending provides.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Highsmith is best-known as a mystery writer. This novel is being presented as serious literature, but it's simply a psychological suspense thriller that sorely needs the conventional surprise ending. Although the author creates a compelling semi-villain (a snoopy, dotty old security guard) and builds a tense atmosphere, she lets the suspense fall flat after the climactic murder. The protagonists, a Greenwich Village couple who pride themselves on their sophistication and open marriage, come off as stagey and tedious as each falls into a sexually tinged friendship with a young lesbian. Both try to pin her subsequent murder on the snooper; subliminally they blame each other. With a bit less pretension this could have been a good mysteryand what's wrong with that? Joyce Smothers, Monmouth Cty Lib., Manalapan, N.J.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Get that kid out of the story! July 22 2002
By L. Dann
This was my first Highsmith novel and I am pleased to know that there are better ones out there. I did think that the pacing was good and the tension sufficient for my limited tolerance. However the characters were outlandishly polite and accepting over death, our of marriage affairs, gay and otherwise, and the gentle manner by which marital sex was managed. There were so many brilliant moments in their lives, successful books, art world ingenuity, even two very significant deaths were magnificently endured. Following one murder, the couple shared drinks, mulled over the wife's gay affair and the husband's otherwise erotic obsession, to be followed by lamb chops-perfect, I'm sure. The child of this wealth and beauty union, was over the edge of my tolerance however. She could draw upon command, was never impossibly intrusive and went easily whenever the plot commanded, to the abundant babysitters who could instantly be called upon for days of support.
And yet the book had a definite intelligence, a psychological frisson,in the the ambiguous questionably sinister watchful movements of a lonely and completely marginalized 50 year old man. We try to stay ahead of that very slender line where he keeps his madness, his rage and consuming sexual confusion from psychopathic proportions. At the same time the story is unbearably tragic when he is brutalized by the violent toughs who reduce him from even the slightest acceptability. We wait for another personality or some violence from him or to him, its a gamble and it's well done. We do not know the details of how this character became isolated by his own broken memories, Ralph is isolated by virtue of his own broken memories, but we know they are unmentionable. The book is redeemed through his part in it.
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By lazza
'Found in the Street' is certainly one of Highsmith's stranger books. Firstly, nearly all the characters are gay, bi-sexual, or at least very gay accepting. Even in today's era of enlightenment I found all this to be a bit unrealistic. Secondly, Highsmith lets down the reader by not capitalising on the suspense built up throughout much of the book. In other words the book's ending is a dud. Having said all this, 'Found in the Street' is standard Highsmith in that it is well-written (nice prose) and the characterisations are quite decent (despite the contrived gay aspect).
So what's the story about? It concerns a young, newly gay-enlightened woman in NYC being chased by an obsessive middle-aged bachelor. Coincidentally this middle-aged bachelor finds a wallet in the street owned by an artist. This artist's wife has some lesbian tendencies. All the characters then mesh together and, well, that's pretty much it. As I mentioned above, the ending is rather poor.
As an aside, Highsmith has done a MUCH better story concerning lesbians in her classic 'Carol'. That book is strongly recommended regardless of the reader's gender or gender preference.
Bottom line: 'Found is the Street' is really a forgettable piece of lesbian-mystery nonsense. Yet it is generally well-written, and I suspect Highsmith fans will find it okay.
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Patricia Highsmith is one of my favorite novelists, but this was not one of her best books (though I agree with the reviewer who found the character of Ralph very well conceived). Was it not odd, for example, that, while Ralph *was* right in the end, the tension that was built up surrounding his character--his potential capacity for violence--never amounted to anything?
And there's something else that troubled me about this book and about The Price of Salt: the attitude toward children implicit in them. Yes, yes, I know that this is fiction and the attitudes expressed do not necessarily express the attitude of the author. But I, at least, found the characters' distance from their children in both novels troubling and unrealistic. In Found in the Street the daughter is forever given to babysitters to raise, while the parents live almost as if they had never had a daughter in the first place: nightclubbing until all hours, and the mother went off on a trip for six months, we are told, when the kid was two, leaving the child with a grandmother for the duration. Perhaps Highsmith intended thereby to portray the parents in a certain light, but I wonder whether she found this sort of behavior remarkable or indeed realistic. In The Price of Salt, on the other hand, while one of the characters *is* broken up about not being able to see her daughter enough, I got the impression from the book that in the heirarachy of relationships, children rank below lovers.
But perhaps I am missing something. I am curious about others' reactions.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect a crime thriller here, folks Oct. 18 2000
Normally, I don't pay much attention to books that already have several reviews (I'm tryin' for that gift certificate!); but when I saw that this fine book had two 2-star reviews, I just had to pitch in my dissenting vote. It shouldn't take any sane reader long to figure out that Highsmith's final novel has no intention of being the typical suspense thriller that she is known for. There's plenty of the old-fashioned "apprehension" here that Graham Greene first identified as the hallmark of her work; but this is a NOVEL in the finest modern sense, replete with convincing characters, complex relationships, and richly textured themes. As long as I live I'll never forget the character of Ralph Lindermann, and how he turned out to be RIGHT, damn him, in his annoyingly pessimistic reading of events. Among other things, this is a brilliant exploration of urban life in the eighties, and one of Highsmith's most assured and sophisticated works; like so many of her other works, it's painful and deeply moving.
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