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Suspension Of Mercy Paperback – Aug 30 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: WW Norton; Reprint edition (Aug. 30 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393321975
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393321975
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14.1 x 1.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 222 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #428,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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The land around Sydney and Alicia Bartleby's two-story cottage was flat, like most Suffolk country. Read the first page
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Format: Paperback
...and this novel is an example. Because her characters often engage in activities that are illegal or, at least, immoral, American publishers have classified her work as "crime fiction," or something similar. Highsmith's fiction was decidedly NOT crime fiction, and people who read Grafton, Cornwell, or Kellerman might be disappointed. There are no good guys, bad guys, hunky detectives, loyal girl Fridays, or love stories. Just people we normally meet, taking extraordinary chances or exploring weird indulgences. Who hasn't fantasized about killing one's spouse (or parent, child, friend, enemy, etc.)?
Read any of Patricia Highsmith's work as if you were reading a classic novelist--Dostoevsky, perhaps. In Highsmith's vision, crime is a metaphor representing the oddly amoral choices we make out of our natural narcissism or neurosis. The discomfort you feel while reading a Highsmith novel? Be warned: that's your conscience scraping its fingernails across the blackboard of your soul. Pleasant? No. Dangerous, guilty, neurotic fun? You bet!
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Format: Paperback
One of Highsmith's best novels, not only is this a thrilling work but also a literary one. I find it comparable to 'The Blunderer,' but ten times better. Definitely recommended.
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By Westley on April 26 2002
Format: Paperback
I'm so glad that the works of Patricia Highsmith have been reissued (I particularly love her Ripley series). This book is similar in many ways to the Ripley books - male protagonist who is an amoral American living in the European countryside and married to a European. Sydney is an unsuccessful American mystery writer, who finds himself unhappy in his marriage. His wife, Alicia, is a bit critical of Sydney and he finds his imagination plotting her murder. The suspense comes from guessing whether he will end up killing her and whether he will get away with it. The plot twists are rather clever, although very little of what happens is particularly believable and the ending is a let-down. Despite these flaws, Highsmith's writing style is so smooth and enjoyable that I found myself liking this book a great deal. Highly recommmended for suspense book lovers and fans of the Ripley series.
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Format: Paperback
Someone once said that Patricia Highsmith's novels are like bad dreams that keep us thrashing during the night. This one is no exception. I can't really call it a mystery becuase there really is no "who done it" - at least who done it in the terms that we would normally associate it. Rather, Ms. Highsmith comes across like Ruth Rendell or maybe Elmore Leonard. Not so much of a mystery as a crime novel where the plot really isn't the driving force, it's the characters. She, like Rendell and Leonard, has created a few characters who bounce off of one another like billiard balls and move the story along.
Sydney Bartleby, an aspiring author-to-be, imagines a plot to kill off his wife Alicia, a painter. Oh, he hasn't done it, mind you, but he has thought about it enough. So, when Alicia takes some time off away from ol' Syd because their marriage is reaching the straining point, Sydney begins a descent into the netherworld of his own imagination. Did he kill her and bury her in a carpet in the middle of the woods? The only person in the book who might even begin to resemble a "good guy", widowed Mrs. Lilybanks, their neighbor, isn't so sure. Sydney leads the police on in their investigation and when it appears that his own fictions will rock and destroy his own life - and he keeps going on - you just want to shake him. I found this to be just a little unbelieveable. The last couple of chapters will either surprise you or leave you asking, "Is that all there is?"
Ms. Highsmith hasn't been that well publicized in the U.S. until one of her earlier novels, "The Talented Mr. Ripley", was made into a movie. Still, like here classic debut novel, "Strangers on a Train", this one shows us what forces might be perculating just below the skin of everyday life. Elmore and Ruth would be proud.
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