Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks

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Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781474617734

Price: £21.99

ON SALE: 16th November 2021

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Diaries, Letters & Journals

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‘It promises to be one of the literary highlights of 2021 – publication of the diaries of Patricia Highsmith, one of the most conflicted, fascinating novelists of the 20th century’ Edward Helmore, Guardian

Patricia Highsmith’s first novel was picked up by Hitchcock and was a world-wide success. Her second novel was meant to tell everything about her true inside and dare what no-one had dared to write before: a lesbian love-story with a happy ending. But when she eventually relented to publish it under a pseudonym, it was a decision that would shape her life more than she could have guessed at the time. Henceforth she would vent her inner life either encoded in her future novels or – unbeknownst to most – in the 18 diaries and 38 notebooks she kept throughout her life. The way she talked about her journals – especially her notebooks – indicates that she always meant to bring them into the open one day. To publish them now means to tell the story of a strong woman battling with the social norms and sexual mores of her time in her own words.

Her journals reveal a most complex life that might help explain why her novels were so much more than just crime novels: world literature.

For the centenary year of Highsmith’s birth in 2021, the first time Patricia Highsmith’s personal journals, edited down to 650 pages, will be available to the public.


The quippiness of the journals is a delight, few can sum up the creative life this deliciously
An unguarded portrait of a young woman taking the first tentative steps into the worlds of sex and literary endeavour . . . a capacious portrait of a complex author and a compelling coming-of-age story
Prospect Magazine
Offers the most complete picture ever published of how Highsmith saw herself
New York Times
Highsmith's astonishing candour in the witness stand of her personal notebooks, and heartbreaking self-exposures in the jury box of her diaries, are like nothing else in American confessional literature
Joan Schenkar
I don't think I've ever met a person as troubling or intelligent, frustrating and frustrated, and triumphantly alone. A master diarist as much as novelist. Highsmith's Her Diaries and Notebooks are a portrait of a time, a long passage from the forties to the nineties, and you've never travelled on this perspective before
Eileen Myles
One of the literary highlights of 2021
There is no one quite like Highsmith
Anita Brookner
[Her Diaries and Notebooks] testify to the recalcitrant, unrelenting spirit of this great American curmudgeon and gifted crime writer
Patricia Highsmith's diaries are something to behold, She is deliciously eccentric and droll, her romances always threaded with bitterness and lust
Eva Wiseman, Observer
I love Highsmith so much. What a revelation her writing was
Gillian Flynn
Offers insights into the thriller writer's many passions and creative intellect
Financial Times
Opens a window onto this extraordinary writer's inner life and working methods . . . a welcome addition to the work of a most eccentric genius
Evening Standard
Few writers fathomed with such intensity the dark places of the human mind
Evening Standard
One of the finest writers in the English language
Richard Osman
Provides stunning access to the mind of a notoriously secretive author
Vanity Fair
A quarter century after the death of novelist Highsmith (1921-1995), fans are given a fascinating and unprecedented look into the 'playground for her imagination' . . . Devotees and historians alike will linger over every morsel
Publishers Weekly
Here comes Patricia Highsmith at last, striding out of the closet, in her own words . . . A frank, and frankly disturbing, portrait of a writer who concealed the personal sources of her work for her entire life
Literary Review
Highsmith likens herself to "a steel needle", and her insights puncture complacency as if piercing flesh. She is the murderer, and we are all the victims
As well as the late-night parties, alcohol and short-lived love affairs, we see a serious writer at work, determined to resist being pigeonholed
These secret diaries take us inside Patricia Highsmith's brilliant yet twisted mind . . . Here then, laid out for us, is the private life Highsmith transmuted into fiction, into those great novels in which innocence and guilt, good and evil meld into one another so alarmingly
Sunday Times
Disclosures from a meticulously documented life. . . An admirably edited volume for scholars and voracious fans
Kirkus Reviews
A vivid portrait of a driven, impassioned, brutal and remarkably singular person, with a vast appetite for women, alcohol and - above all - her work
New Statesman
Keep them beside the bed, dip into them each night. And read them you must. Magnificent
The Times
Highsmith was every bit as deviant and quirky as her mischievous heroes, and didn't seem to mind if everyone knew it
J. G. Ballard
The whole book is excellent. Highsmith is pointed and dry about herself and everything else. But the early chapters are special. They comprise one of the most observant and ecstatic accounts I've read - and it's a crowded field! - about being young and alive in New York City
New York Times