Strangers on A Train

Strangers on A Train

Book - 1966
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From the moment that he constructs a perfect alibi, Guy Haines is trapped in a nightmare of shared guilt and an insidious merging of his personality with that of his conspirator.
Publisher: London : Heinemann, 1966
ISBN: 9780434335022
0434335029
Call Number: M HIGHSMIT
Characteristics: 306 p. ; 23 cm

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JCLCassandraG Aug 17, 2020

No writer better at picking apart human ugliness so thoroughly that you begin to distrust everything you know about yourself. A great story of obsession and the uncanny as two strangers meet on a train and their lives begin to mesh and meld in disarray. Highsmith is the type of writer who can tell you everything in a glance, the ashing of a cigarette, the way a hat sits atop someone's head. You really learn to despise these characters but somehow also end up sharing in their displeasure, too. A real slow-burn kind of like eating one of those crackers made entirely of seeds--you earn the thrill. Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley has similar themes & pacing if you're looking for something to read next.

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mini_moon_pie
Jun 04, 2019

The reason I enjoy Strangers on a Train — I’ve read it three times and taught it in a freshman college lit course — is the slow creeping dread you feel. At first, you wonder if Guy can divorce the manipulative Miriam without fuss, but she’s more like Rebecca in Daphne du Maurier’s novel. Then, will Bruno kill Miriam and get away with it? What will Guy do if Miriam is killed, as it’s well known he hates her? It’s the way Highsmith trains her readers to hate someone before they are murdered, so you don’t feel too bad about it.

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dagny49
Mar 02, 2019

Recommended by author of The Kind Worth Killing

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haileyj
Jan 07, 2016

This was the first Patricia Highsmith novel I've read and it was definitely of the "noir" variety. The meeting of two strangers on a train and the plot once concocts and the other can't run away from makes compelling reading, but it is very dark. I might read more of her work but I would "space it out", otherwise it's too depressing. The Talented Mr Ripley by the same author is similar in it's depiction of truly evil people.

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lukasevansherman
Sep 23, 2014

Patricia Highsmith's first novel, from 1950, and the basis for Hitchcock's film, which is quite different. If anything, Highsmith's novel, about a plot to swap murders, is darker, creepier, and more nihilistic than the film. Like Hitchcock, she is interested in guilt, particularly that of the architect character, but the character of Charles Bruno is a straight up, remorseless (and alcoholic) psychopath. Graham Greene called her "the poet of apprehension." If you like this, check out her celebrated Ripley series. (Oh, contrary to the other comment, the "tennis star" character is an architect in the book, unlike the film.)

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