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Little Tales Of Misogyny [Paperback]

Patricia Highsmith
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 27 2002
Long out of print, this Highsmith classic resurfaces with a vengeance. The great revival of interest in Patricia Highsmith continues with the publication of this legendary, cultish short story collection. With an eerie simplicity of style, Highsmith turns our next-door neighbors into sadistic psychopaths, lying in wait among white picket fences and manicured lawns. In the darkly satiric, often mordantly hilarious sketches that make up Little Tales of Misogyny, Highsmith upsets our conventional notions of female character, revealing the devastating power of these once familiar creatures—"The Dancer," "The Female Novelist," "The Prude"—who destroy both themselves and the men around them. This work attesets to Highsmith's reputation as "the poet of apprehension" (Graham Greene).

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From Publishers Weekly

The 17 tales in Highsmith's new collection are a far cry from Strangers on a Train and her other unforgettable thrillers. These stories, although written with exemplary style, make the flesh crawl but not pleasurably, as reliable suspense fare does. Each focuses on a female doing in a male or, more often, herself. "The Breeder" Elaine persists in giving birth until her husband Douglas goes irrevocably mad, trying to support 17 children. "The Victim" is Cathy, fond of claiming she's been raped repeatedly in her nubile adolescence. During her career as an airline hostess, Cathy's sexuality pays better in rich gifts than in sympathetic attention. But greed and vanity spell the lush girl's doom. From the book's overall tone, readers could infer that its origin was bitter contempt for humans of either gender. The entries fail as real satire, which is always amusing, regardless of its stings.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Patricia Highsmith is the author of such classics as Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. She died in 1995 in Locarno, Switzerland.

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First Sentence
A young man asked a father for his daughter's hand, and received it in a box-her left hand. Read the first page
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4.0 out of 5 stars More misanthropic than misogynistic Dec 20 2002
Much of Patricia Highsmith's writing proceeds from one simple idea: that with intense effort and single-minded determination, even the most unremarkable people can manage to ruin not only their own lives, but the lives of everyone around them as well. One need look no further than this slim collection of short fables to make the point. Whether it's "Oona the Jolly Cave Woman," hapless Elaine in "The Breeder," or a truly malevolent creature like Thea in "The Perfect Little Lady," all of the main characters in these short stories display an insatiable appetite for destruction.
Although the title suggests that this book is misogynistic, the men in this collection aren't necessarily any better than the women. Highsmith's deep misanthropy can (and does) get monotonous, but with such gemlike stories as "The Hand" and "The Prude" in this collection, the book gives little cause for complaint.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Vile Women & Stupid Men May 10 2014
By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
What a bunch of complete and utter rot. I have always wanted to read Patricia Highsmith. Strangers on a Train is one of my favourite movies, Ever! and I really enjoyed the Mr. Ripley movie. I have a lot of her books and just haven't got around to them yet. The back of this collection of extremely short, short stories labels them as "mystery/fiction". This is not mystery in any shape or form. I do not know what to make of these stories. If you read my notes that follow as I read the book you'll see my confusion and distaste for the material progress as I went along. I presume these stories are some sort of farcical feminist literature. I found them vulgar, stupid and not in the least humorous at all.

1. The Hand - Gruesome little parable as to the inappropriateness of referring to marriage as asking for "her hand". (4/5)

2. Oona, the Jolly Cave Woman - Don't get this. A "cave woman" is raped at an early age and then over the years admired by all the men, giving herself freely, maintaining the population practically by herself and then the first man to fall in love's (perhaps ever in the tribe) jealous wife kills Oona with the result that the man starts making images of Oona, then statues, worshipping her and eventually is killed himself by a jealous wife whose husband buys such a statue. Anyway I feel hate from the story but can't help feeling it might be a story made up to give a background for the famous "Venus of Willendorf" statue. (2/5)

3. The Coquette - Lying and playing around with people's hearts will turn around on yourself in the end especially when the people involved are a nasty woman and stupid men. (2/5)

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