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on 6 July 2006
It's a while since I read this book. Oddly enough, it was the first Highsmith I read. The Tremor of Forgery is set in slightly lawless Tunisia, which provides the backdrop to a great story of unease. It is not quite clear what happens, maybe there is a death and maybe it is murder. In the background, there are other shadowy stories. For those who like everything neatly resolved, choose another novel (and preferably another writer). For a mood of anxiety and mystery, I don't think you can do better.
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on 13 July 2014
Patricia Highsmith is a superb wordsmith and has the ability to create atmosphere with brevity. She is able to subtly create a sense of fear and malevolence while the reader has no idea where the story is going. Anything is possible with Patricia. Her characters are interesting and believable. The Tremor of Forgery is a story of relationships and murder and how where we are affects how we deal with certain situations. A thought provoking well written book.
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on 21 November 2015
"The Sea of Doubt" is the title of this book in Italian, which, in my opinion, should've been its original title. Why? Howard is an interesting character in crisis to read about until he starts constantly changing his mind as to whether or not he loves Ina. Besides, after chapter 20, I started to feel a bit bored, like Jensen, everytime Abdullah's murder came up. I understand that Abdullah's murder is "the excuse" to address the moral issues in the book, but since such murder was more like an accident, I couldn't help thinking "let it go and move on!" whenever they went back to it. In the end, the only character I ended up liking was Jensen. OWL's preaching, along with Ina's hypocrisy, couldn't be more annoying and easy to dislike. However, the book atmosphere is hypnotizing and enthralling, and I loved reading it even though much wasn't happening in some chapters.

I can understand why Graham Greene and The New Yorker considered this to be Highsmith's finest novel, but she's written better books filled with aprehension, suspense and existentialism issues such as "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and "Strangers on a Train". The political, religious, moral and even sex issues addressed in this book make it worth reading, but I would've liked more depth about them. I'd define this book as an existentialist travelogue, because the descriptions of what it's like to be in Tunisia are very thorough. All in all, and despite the unexpected but disappointing ending, it's worth reading, specially if you're a Highsmith's fan. If you've never read Highsmith, don't start with this one, because it's certainly not a "mystery and suspense" book.
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on 6 June 2016
Coming from Ripley and Cry of the Owl, Strangers on Train, this book sets a different pace and tone, albeit around similar themes. Any fan of Highsmith should read it, but it is a different animal. It examines morality and guilt and such issues, it contains suspense and not firecrackers. It is interesting to see Highsmith examine her usual topic with a magnifying glass and from a different angle. I must say I did hope for one (purposely) annoying character to be murdered and they weren't! Maybe that was a tease done on purpose!

I think a lot of people overlook the equally interesting examination of relationships on the book, there is definitly food for thought here on a few levels, although the pace may not be as rapid as some would like.
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on 11 February 2010
If you like Patricia Highsmith, I can't imagine you won't like this. It is unpredictable, unsettling and hypnotically engaging, each to a high degree.
Ingham arrives in Tunisia to make plans for a movie which he is to make with his friend John, about a Highsmith-esque love triangle (A hates B for marrying his girl, C. A fakes friendship with B, ruins his marriage and life and kills him). Incidentally in real life we infer that John loves Ina, Ingham's finace. As John waits for contact from either John or Ina, which does not come, and settles into the unsettled feel of Algeria at the time of the Six Day War (anti American feeling is not a 21C construct!) the shadows gather. But being Highsmith they are not the shadows you have been anticipating! Without company Ingham befriends a determinedly pro-American exile of bumptious morality, and a Danish painter with a distressing taste for bought and paid for underage boys (I suspect were the book to be published for the first time now, the attitude to this would be edited somewhat from the 1960's tone of acceptance which prevails!). He also sinks daily deeper into his own new book about the mind of a man with no conventional morality. Bobbing between these forces his life drifts away from the moorings he brought with him. He may or may not commit a murder, and struggles to deal with the situtation away from his known environment. His relationship with Ina zooms in and out of focus in his mind. What does the future hold for him?
I am not giving it 5 stars purely because I don't myself really enjoy Highsmith's uncertainties and moral challenges - but for those who don't mind the haunting, it is a very fine book indeed!
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on 11 November 2014
A really enjoyable story, suffused with the sunshine and atmosphere of where it is set- so well written. This is what makes P. Highsmith such a brilliant crime writer.
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on 18 September 2014
patricia highsmith. the best thriller writer ever
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on 1 September 2014
Ok but not as good as the Ripley books.
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on 1 August 2015
Not sure where this is?
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on 22 September 2014
good
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