Saturday, December 31, 2016
THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY - Patricia Highsmith
" Rydal Keener, a young American'doing' Europe, is standing idly on the fourth floor of a shabby tourist hotel in Athens.
Chester MacFarland is also waiting- for a light tap on the shoulder that will mark the end of a life times successful fraud. And Colette, Chester's beautiful, wide eyed wife? She doesn't know it but she is waiting for something too.."
These three do meet, they meet over a dead body and that is when the trouble starts. We follow them around Europe betraying, and hurting each other at every chance.
The people in this book are selfish, repulsive humans, all that is bad in us. Here we see what pressure and guilt will do to people who have only ever thought of themselves.
Highsmith writes about damaged people, she writes about them so well reading her is unsettling. She herself had a horrible upbringing and what appears to have been an unhappy life. Allegedly her mother told her at one point she had tried to abort her by drinking turpentine, the stuff of happy Xmas's.
I've always found reading Patricia Highsmith like watching a car crash, unpleasant but compelling, she could write and so tuned to our dark side.
Read anything of hers, it might not be a happy experience but worth the effort.