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Strangers on a train ne level 4/book [Paperback]

Highsmith Patricia
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 15 2008 Esl-UK penguin book
Contemporary / American English Guy Haines is travelling through Texas on a train when a stranger invites him to share a meal. But the stranger has a terrible plan. 'You murder my father, and I'll murder your wife,' he suggests. So begins Guy's journey into a world of madness, lies and death.

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From Library Journal

Highsmith's 1950 debut novel made her famous (and inspired a Hitchcock film) but, unlike some of her later titles, was never recorded. William Roberts does the reading honors.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.


For eliciting the menace that lurks in familiar surroundings, there's no one like Patricia Highsmith. -- Time --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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3.0 out of 5 stars Strangers on a Train Jan. 10 2012
I went into this already familiar with Hitchcock's film version of the same story. The opening premise of the film and HighSmith's novel are the same. Two strangers meet on the train and discuss among other things, people in their lives: a Wife, a Father, who they would be better off without. One of these strangers, Charles Bruno, is an extremely well imagined sociopath, while the other, Guy, is a mild mannered architect whose role in this story I never entirely accept. Bruno murders Guy's wife, even though Guy never agreed to this plan. Now he is pressuring Guy to do his part and eliminate Bruno's Father.

After this setup the film and the book are very different. The book delves into the conscience of Bruno and Guy and takes you into their heads. While at first interesting this became quite tedious.

Then again it could be that I simply preferred Hitchcock's adaptation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars That boy Bruno is something else Nov. 28 2010
By Sears Braithwaite (of Bullard) TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Highsmith was a very talented writer. This was her first novel but does not much feel like a beginner's effort.

The best thing about the novel is Bruno. He is a brilliant invention. Guy, OTOH, becomes irritating. The middle of the novel becomes a little tedious, with his constant flip-flopping, over, well, everything. He is an emotional basket case, which of course is the key to the plot. It would not work otherwise. The ends of both men are rather a disappointment. Particularly Bruno. He deserved better.

Hitchcock and Chandler took the more conventional line in the movie. I haven't seen that in years, but I think it worked better. I remember Robert Walker was brilliant as Bruno.

Strange how movies have been so kind to Highsmith, in an awkward way: I love Minghella's Talented Mr. Ripley. It moved me to read the book, and I was quite disappointed there: again, her writing is flawless, but the story disappoints--all she seems to care about is the mechanics of someone getting away with murder and living happily ever after. The movie added many more layers of complexity to the main characters, and even some of the minor ones.

Oddly, compared to her Talented Ripley, Highsmith is actually more ambitious with Strangers on a Train. The novel is, psychologically, very deep. But perhaps experience taught her to give the audience more of what they wanted, and less of her own vision.
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4.0 out of 5 stars These people truly were strangers to me. July 9 2004
I don't know why it surprises me to discover that Hollywood has tampered with a novel. Having only seen the Hitchcock film scripted by Raymond Chandler, I was blown away by this early classic from Highsmith. Pretty much the first third of the novel has ended up on screen, but it would seem that Hitch and his associates simply didn't read the rest. Almost everything about this story has been changed. I like the story as Highsmith wrote it. She is a master of suspence. The characters are well drawn and full of ambiguity. Like most everything else I've read by Highsmith, this is both gripping and unnerving. I loved it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very Thrilling! June 15 2004
By A Customer
The story begins very simple. Two people meet each other in a train and talk. But the end is not as simple as the beginning at all. Charles Bruno has killed Guy Haines' wife and Guy has killed Bruno's father. The basis for these two murders is established still on the train, but at that time no one imagines that it would go so far. Both have killed somebody at the end, but there is a difference between them: Bruno is an insane, and Guy is a victim.
Through the whole story a very complex relationship between these two men evolves just because of this accidental meeting on the train. Patricia Highsmith shows her ability to describe such relationships in a wonderful way. She tells a whole story with a relationship and has no need of any kind of big surprise effects to turn around the whole story. The reader is always up-to-date concerning the main action. Although it's not boring at all, because the real tension of the story is not created by the progression of the actions but by the progression of the relationship.
"Straingers on a Train" is not a typical detective story. Highsmith's protagonist is not a private detective who solves the case gloriously. The two murderers are protagonists, the reader even shares the suffering of the two men running away from the "bad" police. This complete role reversal - together with many other unusual initial positions - makes the book to a unique reading enjoyment. Absolutely recommendable!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An American Dostoyevsky Dec 26 2003
Patricia Highsmith's "Strangers on a Train" came out in 1950, attaining prompt bestseller status and intriguing filmdom's master of intrigue, Alfred Hitchcock, enough to fashion a film around it which was released one year later. Highsmith jolted readers with her gripping realism, taking a basically simple but clever plot and carving out something much more.
Highsmith's book focuses on two men in their twenties, Charlie Bruno and Guy Haines. The former is of great New York wealth, but is troubled and is headed for cataclysmic disaster, which he appears eager to reach fast through his alcoholic dissipation and all-purpose troublemaking. The latter has worked his way upward from a modest, middle class background in his native Texas to become one of America's premier architects before reaching his thirtieth birthday.
Under normal circumstances these individuals would probably never cross paths, but fate intervenes when they travel on the same train and meet as a result of the extroverted Bruno forcing himself on the more introspective Haines, who does not want to appear rude. When Bruno learns that Haines is faced with an unpleasant divorce situation in dealing with a promiscuous wife, the inebriated Bruno jolts his more stable traveling companion by suggesting that they swap murders. Someone who avidly reads mystery books, Bruno states that they would each perform a perfect crime since they would each be killing total strangers and there is nothing to link them to their victims. Bruno wants Haines to kill his father, who is standing in the way of his getting access to the family wealth. The reason for his hatred of his father is also linked to his slavish devotion to his mother, who is seen as a quasi-deity to the troubled young man.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Deja Vu all over again
This is one of those rare cases when the movie is actually better than the book. If you want the definitive version of this story, then watch the movie. Read more
Published on July 4 2008 by Joel Cormier
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
"Stranger on a Train" is a really interesting book. It has a lot of crazy things in it and the main person is a real psychopath but I guess that's what makes the book so special. Read more
Published on June 22 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Psychological Study!
Highly entertaining and original, even though so many rip-offs have been produced since its debut. Highsmith does a titanic job of studying the cat-and-mouse psychology of Guy and... Read more
Published on Dec 12 2003 by Nelson Aspen
5.0 out of 5 stars Far more disturbing...
...than the movie! As I recall it, the character of Bruno never develops in the movie beyond that of a randomly-met psychopath; the portrayal of Guy, for that matter, is rather... Read more
Published on Oct. 30 2003 by P. Micocci
3.0 out of 5 stars Are they, or aren't they ?
I found the dialog between the two potential accomplices in the train was the best part of the book. Read more
Published on July 13 2003 by Jean-Marc M Salama
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Characters+Good Plot= Excellent Book
Brilliant. People swap murders on a train and oh you will have to read it but it certainly is an engaging read. Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2003 by Mr. P. W. Stirups
4.0 out of 5 stars Poor reproduction of a masterpiece
I am quite fond of Patricia Highsmith's writing, having, like so many others, been introduced to her through her Ripley series. Read more
Published on Dec 29 2002 by A. E Rothert
3.0 out of 5 stars Hitchcock over Highsmith!
Yes. I realize that the book is usually better than the movie. "Strangers on A Train" is the exception to the rule. I was elated when the paperback came back into print. Read more
Published on Dec 19 2001 by Mcgivern Owen L
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