Top positive review
Very good, but these are not crime-and-suspense stories
on 2 June 2017
Bar very few, the short stories in this collection are far from the suspense genre people usually associate Highsmith with. The stories here are, however, excellent. Extraordinary, in fact, because they are, pretty much all of them, stories of sadness and show deep insight into all sorts of psychological upheaval, yet most were written when Highsmith was barely in her twenties. So it's amazing to see what a profound writer she was very early on, and also to see that her incredibly taught, economic writing style was there, it seems, from the very start.
The stories are, as I said, mostly sad, and quite a few are uncomfortable to read because of the subject matter, and lots of them deal with the smallness and boredom and utter joylessness of everyday life and with people so ordinary, they are almost painful to read about. So even though the writing is beautiful and sparkles, the effect overall will probably be that of a depressing read. (But nowhere near as depressing as anything by Flannery O'Connor, if that helps.)