Patricia Highsmith's Diaries and Notebooks: The New York Years, 1941-1950 (Paperback)
Essential for understanding Patricia Highsmith’s transgressive life and prophetic work, this volume is also “one of the most observant and ecstatic accounts . . . about being young and alive in New York City” (Dwight Garner,—New York Times).
Before Alfred Hitchcock adapted her debut novel, Strangers on a Train, for the big screen; before her suave and sociopathic Thomas Ripley snaked his way into the canon of psychological suspense; and before The Price of Salt became a cult classic of romantic obsession, who was Patricia Highsmith?
Focused on her formative years in Manhattan, this condensed edition of Highsmith’s monumental Diaries and Notebooks reveals “Pat” at her most passionate and florescent. Beginning in 1941 at Barnard College and encompassing the Texas native’s adventurous twenties,?The New York Years intertwines scenes from her dizzying social life—rife with sleepless nights barhopping in the queer underground Greenwich Village scene, always juggling too many lovers—with an intimate self-portrait of a young artist who by day dispassionately wrote comics for a paycheck. Amid all the hangovers and the breakups, she read voraciously and honed her craft with verve. Laid bare in this perennial reader’s edition are the bold, hilarious, romantic, tragic, and maddeningly contradictory observations of one of “our greatest modernist writers” (Gore Vidal).
About the Author
Patricia Highsmith (1921–1995) was the author of more than twenty novels, including Strangers on a Train, The Price of Salt and The Talented Mr. Ripley, as well as numerous short stories.
Anna von Planta has been Highsmith’s primary editor since the 1980s.
Joan Schenkar, the author of the highly acclaimed biography The Talented Miss Highsmith, lives in Paris and Greenwich Village.
Highsmith’s diary entries… inspire a sharp sense of suspense. They’re a social calendar written in the style of a noir, with Highsmith never failing to come off as both femme fatale and starched-shirt detective. It’s all there: the guilt of cheating and even of just existing, deadly betrayals of the heart, the growing restlessness with routine, the stranger in the bed…. There’s often a productive distance between what she needs and what she can get, what she knows herself to be capable of and what more she might be capable of in the moment of creation: a thrilling psychic chase.
— Hannah Gold - New Yorker
Thoroughly annotated introductions for each year provide helpful historical background such as the Lavender Scare, and information about the many people in Highsmith’s life . . . A great read for aspiring writers, devotees of LGBTQ history, and those who enjoy reading about an artist’s evolution.
— Library Journal
The intimate revelations of a sensuous, ambitious writer . . . Out of nearly 5,000 pages from the notebooks and diaries of Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995), editor von Planta and her team have culled about 20% to represent the author’s formative years as a writer . . . As this volume demonstrates, Highsmith poured everything into her private notebooks: desires, dreams, inspirations, frustrations, and more.
— Kirkus Reviews