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The Black House [Paperback]

Patricia Highsmith
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 10.66 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

19 Jun 2006
Some neighbours are playing Scrabble one evening when their cat drags into the house not a bird, or some other catch, but human fingers. A guest arrives at a dinner party where he is not welcome, and his hosts conspire to find and attack his Achilles heel. The crew of the Emma C rescue a beautiful girl floating unconscious in the sea and tension explodes between the men on board. A childless thirtysomething couple decide to invite two elderly folk to live with them, but have they been too generous? In this collection of Patricia Highsmith's wonderfully unsettling short stories, people's motives are frequently twisted and no occurrence is without a sinister underlying meaning.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; UK open market ed edition (19 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747579350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747579359
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 675,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


‘A border zone of the macabre, the disturbing, the not-quite accidental’ -- New York Times Book Review

‘Her stories are masterpieces of misanthropy and futility’ -- Irish Times

‘The Black House runs true to beguilingly upsetting form’ -- Event

About the Author

Patricia Highsmith was born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1921. Her first novel, Strangers on a Train, was made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951. The Talented Mr Ripley, published in 1955, was awarded the Edgar Allan Poe Scroll by the Mystery Writers of America and introduced the fascinating anti-hero Tom Ripley, who was to appear in many of her later crime novels. Patricia Highsmith died in Locarno, Switzerland, in February 1995. Her last novel, Small g: A Summer Idyll, was published posthumously.

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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
3.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Tales 26 Mar 2010
Don't read these if you want a smug night's sleep. Patricia Highsmith's universe has guilt at its centre. If you're interested in guilt, read these deep, crafted, complex stories. Patricia Highsmith will survive her banal contemporaries.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not her best, but worth a read 17 July 2013
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
These stories are sometimes rather creepy, often kind of bizarre and sometimes tragic. In one of the best of these, The Kite, a boy, Walter, of around twelve who is a solitary kind of kid, makes a kite in memory of his younger sister Elsie, who has died of pneumonia. The making of the kite is described in some detail, and during this we get the cold atmosphere between his parents, who argue constantly. Highsmith is so good at suggesting this undercurrent of displeasure with just a few words and a visit to his least-liked grandmother where he spills a dish of ice-cream and gets a mild but humiliating rebuke. The kite is the most sophisticated he has built, and the strongest. You won't like the ending one bit.

Highsmith often sites her stories in banal, ordinary settings but the action is often out of anyone's experience, as when in Something The Cat Dragged In, a whole small community of people collude in keeping quiet about a murder. In Under A Dark Angel's Eye, a man discovers he has been lied to and his money stolen in an ingenious scam perpetrated by the Manager of an old people's home. Then, after having found out what has been happening, a series of events leads to two deaths, and a very discomforting denouement. Sometimes the most unobnoxious of events gets out of control, as in Not One of Us, when callousness reaches too far. The title story is enigmatic to the nth degree when a younger man is attacked after exploring an abandoned house - he ends up in a coma. Odd, out of sync, unexpected and sometimes chilling, these stories defy genre, they are, just as they are. Confounding and grim, but a very easy read. Perhaps, sometimes, too easy to really make an impact.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lazy 18 April 2012
By Ryder
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I can't believe this has received so many five star reviews on amazon. It's the only Patricia Highsmith I have read which was a huge disappointment. Some of the short stories can only be described as bone idle - she was clearly writing to order here. At best, the stories here are interesting ideas but lazily written.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a tight, competent short story collection by the master.. 23 April 2005
By lazza - Published on Amazon.com
'The Black House' contains several short stories which are a slight departure from Patricia Highsmith's normal stomping ground - namely, psychotics and murderers. These stories have a somewhat of mild surreal, psychological angle to them. Daily routine life on the exterior becomes distorted when closely examined ... er, or something like that. There is no common underlying theme to the story. They seem to be written over a period of years, published for various periodicals. The publisher decided to, thankfully, give these stories an second life by reissuing them in this book.

Bottom line: enjoyable, disturbing stories for fans of Patricia Highsmith ... and those not acquainted with her works.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If I could rate it 11, I would 16 Oct 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Everytime you open a book by Patricia Highsmith, there is no certainty at all about what you will encounter (at least that happens to me). However, this time I found more surprises than usual. Each of the 11 stories has its particular charm, but the one I loved most was "Blow It". It is worth buying the book just to read this story. If you are a woman and you like Highsmith, you cannot afford to leave this one unread. And, remember, reality is more frightening than horror movies!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Talented Ms. Highsmith. 10 Dec 2007
By Michael G. - Published on Amazon.com
The Black House is a collection of eleven short stories written by highly acclaimed novelist Patricia Highsmith. All of the stories are good and a number of them are very good. Each story has a skillfully written narrative that unfolds smoothly as well as believable characters notable for their easily recognizable personality types.
Many of the stories contain shocking plot twists designed to demonstrate the darkest aspects of human nature. In some cases these unexpected events are rather disturbing.
Recommended to readers who appreciate "slice of life" stories and are not put off by the prospect of experiencing some viscerally uncomfortable moments along the way.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A collection of short stories by Patricia Highsmith. 11 Jun 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
The Black House is a very unique book. You may think it sounds like a horror book. But it is really only scary in the way that people are in this book. It takes a while to become used to the author's style of writing, so you have to be patient. Some of these stories are very strange, be prepared. I found this book to be frusturating because it was so different.The author did a good job leaving you with a question at the end of each story.
5.0 out of 5 stars God, I love Patricia Highsmith. 11 Feb 2014
By Trudy Sanders - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of my favorite authors - she does it like no one else before or since. Book arrived in stated condition, on time, no complaints.
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