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Carol Paperback – 20 Jun 2005

18 customer reviews

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Paperback, 20 Jun 2005
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; UK open market ed edition (20 Jun. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747580286
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747580287
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.7 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 755,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'A document of persecuted love ... perfect' Independent 'About the pursuit of love, and true happiness ... It has characters who laugh, and who laugh without scorn or illusion ... very recognisably Highsmith, as full of tremor and of threat and of her peculiar genius for anxiety' Sunday Times 'Gently exploratory, genuinely moving' Mail on Sunday 'An original, honest novel, a remarkable imaginative achievement by any standard ... compelling' Financial Times

About the Author

Patricia Highsmith is the author of classics such as Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr Ripley. Born in Texas, she spent much of her life in England, France and Switzerland. She died in 1995 in Locarno, Switzerland.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Rowena Abdul Razak on 26 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
The year is 1950-something. New York city. The scene is the toy department of Frankenberg's. Therese Belivet is staring into space, her toe is bleeding, her career in stage designing is nowhere near Broadway, she is not in love with her boyfriend, she has no family. Then she meets the completely mesmerising Mrs H. F. Aird, first name Carol, a customer looking at dolls as a present for her daughter. Therese attends her with as much professionalism as she can muster, but her heart is lost and when the woman has disappeared behind closed lift doors, she takes a chance and writes a Christmas card. Carol calls her to say thank you then proceeds to invite the impressionable Therese for lunch.

What happens next is a true adventure of the heart. It is as much as a growing up tale, as it is a love story. Carol is the divorced older woman who is given a chance to completely break free and throw caution to the wind. Therese is the young girl who has no real past but chances for an uncertain future with what may possibly be true love. Together, they give in to their desires: they answer the questions of their heart fully and unashamedly. But all is not well, and the fragility of love is put through the test of seperation and persecution.

The novel, initially published as A Price of Salt in 1951, is as undeniable read. In my opinion, it's a beautiful book to read on a rainy day, curled up in bed. It's carless and passionate. There's an amazing trip taken into the American heartland. It calls out to the adventurer and lover in us all. Give it a chance and take the trip down the heady and bubbly road of what we dare call love.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By PipEmma on 25 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was one of the most moving and thought provoking love stories of first love, I have ever read. It is totally immaterial that this is a lesbian love story as it could be a love story for any age or any time. But perhaps it is particularly brave because of the time when it was written and the context in which this was written. It is also a story of obsession, and a story of absent parental love and the effect that it has on the life of the main character - Therese and the tough choices she eventually makes. This is not a cliche ridden story, and has many facets, examining the effect that love for a member of ones own sex has upon what was then perhaps the typical male of the era (early fifties) when this was written. For a lonely young woman living alone in a world of what appears to be 'happy families' around her, tough decisions are made that affect not just her life but the lives of others too. It was extremely hard for me to put this book down, reading long into the night and savouring every line. As with all really good books, I was very sorry when I reached the end, despite reading as slowly as possible to spin the story out! If you wish to read a love story with a happy ending against the odds - then this is for you. Doubtless I shall return to this book many times. I do feel that I must mention here, this was only the second book of Patricia Highsmith's that I have read.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Jun. 2003
Format: Paperback
For those familiar with Highsmith's more renowned tales of murder and intrigue, this has a refreshingly different theme, quite starkly autobiographical, and rather brave for the times it was written in. This was only her second novel, but already her distinctive style was already established - a crisp, compelling and no-nonsense style of writing that sets it apart.
Young Therese meets Carol, a customer at the doll department in Frankenbergs where she works. This fleeting encounter is described by Therese as a vision, a sudden realisation of one's desires in another. In this story, she and Carol meet, become friends and later on, become lovers during a road trip they take together right across America.
It is a very sensitively written portrayal of love, at a time when such relationships were considered degenerate and as Highsmith said herself, most fiction pertaining to the subject ended in dissolution and tragedy. Here was a refreshing outlook to a previously controversial subject, and her treatment of it was bold and wonderfully low-key, tasteful and un-sensationalist. For that reason, I think it deserves the 5 stars. I also like the depiction of personal revelations of love, which do not consider the usual, hackneyed questions of "Is this perverse?" but then later on, goes on to challenge the perceptions of the world and so-called respectable society.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lou Ice on 14 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
Carol is a book that has been on my list of book I want to read for a long time, and luckily I wasn't disappointed.

Highsmith has created a very tender, but complicated, love story between two women in the 50s New York. Young artistic Therese and married woman Carol strike up a friendship that turns into a romantic road trip - only to be ruined by Carol's husband.

The writing is excellent. The dialogue rings true and the pacing feels right, even if the beginning is a bit slow. Highsmith is creating drama through her accurate descriptions of feelings and the outcome is never obvious.

Therese is in an open relationship with Richard, but doesn't love him as he thinks he loves her. She also gets attention from a scientist called Dannie and his brother Phil. Therese's mixed feelings about herself and her sexuality is described very well, especially towards the end of the book when she's attracted to an actress.

Today lesbianism is more accepted and it's an important insight to read about how difficult it was in the 50s.
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