The Cry of the Owl
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Top customer reviews
From this Highsmith expertly conjures a tale of sex and murder with no sex and even less murder. The characters are almost all unsympathetic, and yet I felt for them in their turmoil, at the least expected moments. There are several rank implausibilities peppered through the plot, but they can't detract from Highsmith's brilliant control of the suspense that dragged me willingly 250 pages to the end in just over a day, and the payoff is both dramatic and thrilling, to the very last ambiguous sentence. This, then, is the good - the great - face of crime writing.
Highsmith introduces us to a gallery of odd and unpleasant characters, although it is impossible not to feel empathy with the main character. Whilst there are no direct references to the era, the book has the cosy aura of 1950's/60's America.
This book is deliciosly dark and absolutely un- put downable, I raged at the central characters' weakness (especially when it came to his revolting, toxic ex wife), and felt a little deflated that the ending wasn't nicely rounded off. These however are minor quibbles, this is a must read & will leave you wanting to devour much more of her work!
There was not a modicum of reality in the last quarter of the book. All social and moral rules were absent and the police characters are once again portrayed as mindless retards, as in the Ripley novels. The prose is somewhat strange, often compiled of short, stunted, irrelevant sentences suggesting the author is making it up as she goes along with the solitary objective of filling the pages with any thought that comes into her mind.
As with other Highsmith books all the characters chain smoke and slug neat whisky around the clock. I had difficulty reading this book without imagining that the author was not pickled as she wrote it. It was a struggle but I commend myself for finishing the trash.
I recently read Temor of Forgery (slow paced and more examining guilt and sentiments) and Strangers on a Train (very good) by Highsmith and Owl is my favourite.
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