Tag Archives: Patricia Highsmith

18: The Glass Cell

The Glass Cell by Patricia Highsmith

Hmm, I haven’t read any Highsmith since 2005? How did that happen? Hmm. Well, I picked up two at The Book Shop this summer so I can now rectify that. (Although, I have to say there’s something to be said for consuming a favorite author’s work slowly, especially when you know their ouevre is finite.)

In the The Glass Cell, the MC is an ordinary guy who is wrongly convicted of a crime. The first half of the book covers his six years in prison; the second half what happens when he returns “home” (i.e. to where his wife now lives). This being Highsmith, I don’t think I’m being spoilery by saying there is no cheesy TV movie–style happy ending. What happens is pretty much what you expect to happen when you’re not expecting a happy ending.

TGC is billed as a psychological thriller, but that’s not really accurate. It works as a psychological study, but it’s lacking the sense of suspense (I was never surprised or on the edge of my seat, er, pillow) that Highsmith’s more well-known books have. It’s not thrilling. It is sad. It was almost like reading long-form journalism (where you already know the outcome, but you’re reading to see how the MC went from A to B), rather than a novel. If you’re looking for cheery escapism, this is not your book.

Books Read May – December 2005

The brevity of this list reminds me of how prolific a reader I used to be. In grade seven, my teacher had us start a list of books read at the back of one of our notebooks. I think it was more of a suggestion than an assignment because I don’t remember anyone else keeping up with it. But I did, and by the end of the school year, I had read ~120 books. I remember being so thrilled when I hit 100. Anyhow, the school year being approximately 10 months, that’s about 12 books / month. Or a book every 2.5 days.

Okay, so I can still read a book in two days. Or one, even. But these days I seem to spend a lot of my time reading Stuff That Is Not Books. Like blogs. Or submissions. 🙂

  1. Saints of Big Harbour by Lynn Coady n
  2. The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy by Barbara Vine n#
  3. A Child’s Book of True Crime by Chloe Hooper n+
  4. Wide Open by Nicola Barker n+#*
  5. Ripley’s Game by Patricia Highsmith n#
  6. Time Off for Good Behavior by Lani Diane Rich n+
  7. A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel m+
  8. Take the Cannoli by Sarah Vowell e+#
  9. Geographies of Home by Loida Maritza Perez n+
  10. Liza’s England by Pat Barker n#*
  11. For Rabbit, With Love & Squalor by Anne Roiphe e#
  12. Letting Loose the Hounds by Brady Udall s+#
  13. The Digital Sublime by Vincent Mosco nf+
  14. The Real World of Technology by Ursula Franklin nf+
  15. Under Technology’s Thumb by William Leiss nf+
  16. The Small Details of Life by Kathryn Carter nf+
  17. The Extraordinary Work of Ordinary Writing by Jennifor Sinor nf+#
  18. Reading Between the Lines by Betty Jane Wylie nf+