Little Tales of Misogyny Paperback – Aug 27 2002
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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.
These little tales are tremendous fun, glorious hand grenades lobbed at the reader by a gleeful, cackling Patricia Highsmith -- Dan Rhodes For eliciting the menace that lurks in familiar surroundings, there's no one like Patricia Highsmith Time These are extraordinary stories ... etched in acid and unforgettable ... Highsmith is a mistress of a fine and dangerous art. Let the reader beware Financial Times It's not just the men who come off badly in this short, sharp shock of a collection... Each story is more appalling than the next, deadpan in tone and dripping with black humour. The Independent Very wicked, very funny and - this being Highsmith's mission in life, as far as one can tell - very unsettling Guardian --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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)
4.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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"Little Tales of Misogyny" is a misleading title since misogyny is certainly not involved in all seventeen of these short stories. What the tales all have in common are male and female characters who are either entirely unlikeable or extremely deplorable. Stand-outs in the collection include "The Breeder", the tale of a wife who keeps reproducing to fulfill her role as wife and mother, and "The Prude" about a woman who is so proud of her virtue that she is shocked when her three daughters might not want to be virtuous young women like she had been. Some stories are disturbing, such as "The Hand" and "The Victim", while others have an odd element of humor in them, such as "Oona , the Jolly Cave Woman".
The fact that Highsmith could create such unique and ordinary characters who can cause laughter and disgust within the reader in just a few short pages is a testament to her talent as a writer. For fans of Highsmith, this unique collection of stories is a real treasure.