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This Sweet Sickness [Paperback]

Patricia Highsmith
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Oct 2002
In "This Sweet Sickness," David Kelsey has an unyielding conviction that life will turn out all right for him; he just has to fix The Situation: he is in love with a married woman. Obsessed with Annabelle and the life he has imagined for them, David prepares to win her over, whatever it takes.

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This Sweet Sickness + The Cry Of The Owl + Deep Water
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reissue edition (15 Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393323676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393323672
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13.9 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,714,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


'A writer who has created a world of her own; a world claustrophobic and irrational which we enter each time with a sense of personal danger' Graham Greene 'Highsmith is an exquisitely sardonic etcher of the casually treacherous personality' Newsday 'To call Highsmith a thriller writer is true but not the whole truth: her books have stylistic texture, psychological depth, mesmeric readability' Sunday Times 'The genius of Highsmith's writing is that it is at once deeply disturbing' Boston Phoenix --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 just over a month later. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
It was jealousy that kept David from sleeping, drove him from a tousled bed out of the dark and silent boardinghouse to walk the streets. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Highsmith 12 July 2003
By R. P. Sedgwick VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This Sweet Sickness is a classic Highsmith book. I've read all of her novels, and this one has always held the place of my personal favourite, even though it is less well known than the Ripley novels, or Strangers on a Train.
David Kelsey is a typical Highsmith protagonist: self-obsessed, arrogant and opinionated, with a good income and a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. He has become infatuated with his former fiancee Annabelle to the extent where it dominates all his thoughts. He has become convinced that it is only a matter of time before he persuades her to come and live with him and resume the life they briefly had together - in fact the reverse is the case.
At weekends he has established an alter ago, William Neumeister, who is the perfect partner of his adoring wife - except it is all pretend! As the events in the book unfold (without spoiling it by going into the details) Kelsey is forced to retreat into his Neumeister persona more and more as life as his real self becomes increasingly unbearable.
A tense psychological thriller, This Sweet Sickness unveils an obsessive personality whose mad world becomes increasingly chaotic as it increasingly deviates from reality and ultimately impinges in a fatal way on the lives of others around it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Jon E
Even by her own unparalleled standards, Patricia Highsmith's "This Sweet Sickness" ranks as an extraordinarily dark psychological fiction. It's the story of David Kelsey, a man obsessed by a former girlfriend, Annabelle, to the point where he has set up a home for them both even though she has long since moved on, having married another man and started a family with him. Though he holds down a good job in a fabrics manufacturing company and enjoys a reputation as a model citizen, David spends every free moment of each day fantasising about Annabelle, pondering his next move in trying to win her back, and imagining the time when she will 'come to her senses', leave her husband and come to live with him. He's even created an alter ego, William Neumeister, in whose name he bought the house in the country that he longs one day to share with Annabelle. Spending his working weeks in a guesthouse near his factory, and every weekend, under his assumed name, at his country home, David has to resort to ever more elaborate subterfuges to keep his double-life secret from his weekday colleagues and housemates. Things come to a disastrous head for 'William' one weekend with an accident - or is it a murder? - that threatens to expose David as the psychotic fantasist he really is.

Highsmith weaves her customary web - at once compelling and repellent - in this claustrophobic tale, immersing the reader in the disturbing and deteriorating psychology of her leading man. The narrative grips like a vice, and though David is arguably one of Highsmith's most unlikeable creations - completely lacking the amoral charm, for example, of Tom Ripley - once one has been lured into his world it's impossible not to want to follow his plight to its bitter end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Sweet Sickness 3 Nov 2009
By Rich
Chilling look at the mind of a man who cannot accept the reality of his situation. Other characters are equally interesting and in some cases just as deluded. While the main protaganist David, is not a sympathetic man, Highsmith's fast pace means the reader never feels claustrophobic or smothered by having him as the reader's point of view throughout the book. More a psychological thriller than an action piece, this has a similar feel to the later Ruth Rendell novel 'Going Wrong'.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I started reading Highsmith's books after reading 'carol'. This is a fast paced story that keeps the reader gripped. I like the older fashioned style of writing and it was a book I couldn't put down. I wish there were more books as good as this! Thoroughly recommend it
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