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.
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. 🙂