this is the 121st in my series of posts on forgotten or seldom read books
Eleven by Patricia Highsmith © 1970, Doubleday 1970 hardcover, this edition: 1978 Penguin mass market paperback, mystery-horror short story collection
I expect there will be much praise and positive comment about Patricia Highsmith in today’s Friday Forgotten books review set, but let me admit this right up front: Highsmith is not an author whose work I particularly like. In the past I’ve tried two of the novels and found both of them depressing, with nothing redeeming about the characters – the ones who survived – and was left with a sour taste in my mouth.
It was, then, with some trepidation that I approached the task of finding something to read for this single author FFB challenge. So, instead of trying another novel, I decided to read short stories. The wisdom of this choice is unclear. Certainly the stories, being shorter, left less time for the author to sink me into her dark world, but she was very successful in giving me several hard shoves into it instead.
The stories in Eleven range from strange to outright dark and brutal. There are odd characters with barely explainable motivations who do unusual things and always pay for those actions in some unpleasant way. Unsettling may be the best word for these stories, and if you happen to have either a liking or phobia about snails, you get a double dose here. I was afraid I’d have nightmares about the creatures, and I’m not given to such things.
If you like this sort of thing, you’ll love this book, these stories. I don’t, and probably won’t be reading any further in the Highsmith bibliography.
-The Birds Poised to Fly
-When the Fleet was in at Mobile
-The Quest for “Blank Claveringi”
-The Cries of Love
-Mrs. Afton, Among Thy Green Braes
-Another Bridge to Cross
-The Empty Birdcage
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The rest of the Friday Forgotten Book posts
can be found at Patti Abbott’s fine blog Pattinase