Saturday, October 31, 2009

Book 18 – A Suspension of Mercy

By Patricia Highsmith

Thanks to Olman’s collection, I had my first opportunity to read Highsmith. And man, her writing is good! For an excellent summary, check out Olman’s impressions of this tight, well-crafted novel.

For myself, I really appreciated how Highsmith set up a situation where you understand the characters underlying psychology and background. Whatever issues that lurk in their veneer of normalcy creates the required conflict to get the plot moving. And as the characters dig themselves into a crazier and self-destructive situation, you may think what an idiot or nutcase this person is, but at the same time, you totally see where they’re coming from. The choices they make, however irrational, makes sense according to their motive. This makes for an intelligent and satisfying suspense novel that also succeeds in being genuinely tragic.

I would so love to read some more Highsmith now. I don’t know if her other books are even darker than this, but I love dark depressing fiction… so bring it on!

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