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Patricia Highsmith

Patricia Highsmith

Patricia Highsmith (1921 – 1995) born in Texas, grew up and studied in New York. She achieved worldwide success in 1950 with her debut novel Strangers on a Train, made into the famous film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951. The Talented Mr. Ripley, published in 1955, was awarded the ›Edgar Allan Poe Scroll‹ by the Mystery Writers of America and introduced the fascinating anti-hero Tom Ripley.

Awards
  • Carol-Kinofilm von Todd Haynes bekommt ›Preis der Frankfurter Buchmesse‹ als ›beste literarische Verfilmung‹, 2015
  • ›Finnischer Krimipreis‹ der Suomen dekkariseura für ihr Gesamtwerk, 1993
  • ›Officier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres‹, 1990
  • ›Prix Littéraire‹ des Festival du cinéma américain von Deauville, 1987
  • ›Schwedischer Krimipreis‹ in der Kategorie ›Grand Master‹ der Svenska Deckarakademin als Auszeichnung für das Lebenswerk der Autorin, 1979
  • ›Grand Prix de l'Humour Noir‹ für L'Amateur d'escargot (dt. Der Schneckenforscher; Original: The Snail Watcher), 1975
  • ›Dagger Award‹ in der Kategorie ›Best Foreign Novel‹ für The Two Faces of January (dt. Unfall auf Kreta/Die zwei Gesichter des Januars), 1964
  • ›Grand prix de littérature policière‹ in der Kategorie ›International‹ für Plein Soleil – Monsieur Ripley (dt. Der talentierte Mr. Ripley; Original: The Talented Mr. Ripley), 1957
  • ›O. Henry-Preis‹ in der Kategorie ›Best First-Published Story‹ für The Heroine (dt. Die Heldin. Dt. in: Der Schneckenforscher; in Original: The Snail Watcher), 1946
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Movie Adaptations
  • A Kind Of Murder, Andy Goddard, 2016
  • Carol / Salz und sein Preis, Todd Haynes, 2015
  • The two faces of January, Hossein Amini, 2014
  • Cry of the Owl, Jamie Thraves, 2009
  • Ripley under Ground, Roger Spottiswoode, 2005
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley, Anthony Minghella, 1999
  • Once You Meet a Stranger, Tommy Lee Wallace, 1996
  • Trip nach Tunis, Peter Goedel, 1993
  • Der Geschichtenerzähler, Rainer Boldt, 1991
  • A Curious Suicide, Bob Biermann, 1989
  • Le jardin des Disparus, Mai Zetterling, 1989
  • L´Amateur de Frissons, Roger Andrieux, 1989
  • L´Epouvantail, Maroun Bagdad, 1989
  • La ferme du malheur, Samuel Fuller, 1989
  • Legitime Défense, John Berry , 1989
  • Le cri du hibou, Claude Chabrol, 1987
  • Die zwei Gesichter des Januars, Wolfgang Storch, 1986
  • Tiefe Wasser, Franz Peter Wirth, 1983
  • Ediths Tagebuch, Hans Werner Geissendörfer, 1983
  • Eaux profondes, Michel Deville, 1981
  • Dites-lui que je l’aime, Claude Miller, 1977
  • Die gläserne Zelle, Hans Geissendörfer, 1977
  • L’ami americain, Wim Wenders, 1976
  • Once You Kiss a Stranger, Robert Sparr, 1969
  • Le meurtrier; Enough Rope, Claude Autant-Lara, 1963
  • Le meurtrier, Claude Autant-Lara, 1962
  • Plein soleil, René Clément, 1959
  • Strangers on a Train, Alfred Hitchcock, 1951
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»Many of her stories reflect the kind of breathtaking misanthropy that could only have been achieved over a lifetime. And virtually all share the same sense of macabre inevitability, which means that the number of stories end up in almost that many deaths. Ms. Highsmith was never one for halfway solutions. What is interesting about Ms. Highsmith is that instead of describing such an denouement with suitably ghoulish overtones, she typically treats it in almost businesslike fashion. Her interest is in the generally unspeakable tensions and resentments that lead up to such outbursts, not in the messy side of murder.«
Janet Maslin / The New York Times
»Patricia Highsith was the undisputed mistress as well as one of the creators of the modern psychological crime novel.«
Simon Shaw / Mail on Sunday
»Patricia Highsmith keeps moving, darting in and out of our fields of vision, making afterimages that will tremble – but stay – in our minds.«
The New Yorker
»For eliciting the menace that lurks in familiar surroundings, there's no one like Patricia Highsmith.«
The Times, London
»Patricia Highsmith is a giant of the genre. The original, the best, the gloriously twisted Queen of Suspense.«
»Patricia Highsmith was every bit as deviant and quirky as her mischievous heroes, and didn't seem to mind if everyone knew it.«
Daily Telegraph
»Patricia Highsmith should be considered an essential postwar writer who captured the neurotic apprehensions of her times. By her hypnotic art Patricia Highsmith puts the suspense story into a toweringly high place in the hierarchy of fiction.«
The Times
»Patricia Highsmith, the greatest of all crime writers.«
The Times, London
»One thinks of comparing Miss Highsmith only with herself; by any other standard of comparison, one must simply cheer.«
Auberon Waugh
»To call Patricia Highsmith a thriller writer is true but not the whole truth: her books have stylistic texture, psychological depth, mesmeric readability.«
Sunday Times, London
»Although she is today one of the world's most widely read contemporary authors, there is still more of Patricia Highsmith to discover…«
Le Monde, Paris

»Miss Highsmith is a novelist whose books one can re-read many times. There are very few of whom one can say that. She has created a world of her own - a world claustrophobic and irrational which we enter each time with a sense of personal danger. [...] Highsmith is the poet of apprehension.«

Graham Greene
»One of our greatest modernist writers.«
Gore Vidal
»Patricia Highsmith is a giant of the genre. The original, the best, the gloriously twisted Queen of Suspense.«
Mark Billingham
»Patricia 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 / Daily Telegraph, London
»Patricia Highsmith should be considered an essential postwar writer who captured the neurotic apprehensions of her times. By her hypnotic art Patricia Highsmith puts the suspense story into a toweringly high place in the hierarchy of fiction.«
The Times, London

»For some unknown reason Patricia Highsmith, one of the most important modern narrators, is regarded as an author of crime novels. She is both.«

Gore Vidal

»To read Highsmith’s stories is a delight, a real celebration.«

Alex Rühle / Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich

»In the best stories, there is a clarity in terms of composition and a unity in tone that reminds you of Edgar Allan Poe, staged with a backdrop that evokes Edward Hopper.«

Tiziano Gianotti / La Repubblica, Rome

»Ripley has always been a source of inspiration for cinema, which is what makes him lively, shining and omnipresent until today.«

Nadia Terranova / La Stampa, Torino

»The grande dame of the thriller turns 100 and is more up to date than ever. Her creatures are patrolling the moral low life of our nature, committing their cruelest crimes.«

Laura Ventura / La Nación, Buenos Aires

»Truly, Highsmith, who was an avid reader of Dostoevsky and Kierkegaard, illuminates the shimmering shades of good and evil.«

Maike Albath / Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich

»Highsmith's unfathomable nature is every bit as deep as Fyodor Dostoevsky or Joseph Conrad’s hellscapes.«

Jan Wilm / Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zurich

»... queen of psychological suspense.«

The Guardian, London

»Patricia Highsmith will take you on a journey, into temptation, passion, guilt, cruelty and danger. She is the voice that dogs you in the dark, seductive and persuasive, nightmarish yet irresistible.«

Amanda Craig

»I love the addictive quality of Highsmith's novels, her ›low hypnotic murmur‹ or the feverish, lyrical prose in Carol.«

Jill Dawson

»Although I'm a great admirer of Patricia Highsmith's thrillers and the complex moral landscape she explores, for me the high watermark will always be Carol, aka The Price of Salt«

Val McDermid

»Highsmith (1921-1995) introduced new layers of psychological complexity to the crime thriller, one key reason why filmmakers continue to be so attracted to her.«

Geoffrey Macnab / The Independent, London

»Whereas other crime writers’ work often becomes dated or seems tied to a specific period or place, Highsmith’s books have enduring and universal appeal.«

Geoffrey Macnab / The Independent, London

»We are often drawn into Highsmith’s claustrophobic world like flies tentatively exploring the gossamer strands of a spider’s web.«

Andrew Wilson / The Sunday Times, London

»The canonization of Patricia Highsmith – doyenne of the psychological suspense novel, depressive homosexual, mean drunk, and one of the greatest, darkest American storytellers since Poe – has officially begun.«

Terry Castle

»When you read one of Highsmith’s stories, you’ve given her permission to follow you, catch you, take you apart. Get ready to run.«

Carmen Maria Machado / The Guardian, London

»The 21st century – when imposture is at the heart of online life, when self-identification precedes authenticity – seems more and more like the age of Tom Ripley, Highsmith’s greatest creation.«

Matthew Sperling / Apollo Magazine, London

»She revolutionized the detective novel by inventing, just after the Second World War, the psychological thriller.«

Élise Lépine / Alibi, Paris

»Nobody describes the horror of murder more vividly.«

Nando Salvà / El Periódico, Barcelona

»And ever since Hitchcock’s classic Strangers on a Train (1951), Highsmith grows more filmable every year, perhaps because our world is so swiftly catching up with the sort of people she wrote about: men and women who lie, commit forgery, and develop manipulative fictions to damage everyone around them.«

Scott Bradfield / The Spectator, London

»Her works keep their powerful attraction intact, the sensation that, by them, we draw closer to the abyss from which we are trying to run away from.«

Guillermo Altares / El País, Madrid

»Reading her is like having a devil on your shoulder arguing that decency and good citizenship are boring and cowardly, and so compellingly that you’ve acquiesced before you know it.«

Jake Kerridge / The Telegraph, London

»She was also the first to make short work of the hitherto almost sacred dualism of good and bad, and cancelled out the traditional ending«

Charles den Tex and Anneloes Timmerije / De Volkskrant, Amsterdam

»With a concise and minimalistic style, inspired by Maupassant, Highsmith draws a character who is the pinnacle of the inversion of values postulated by Nietzsche and who tramples traditional values.«

Rafael Narbona / El Cultural, Madrid

»Highsmith wanted to show the murderers, almost murderers and murder fantasists from the inside because it rarely shows from the outside.«

Jürgen Kaube / Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Frankfurt

»The constant inner apprehension, which one is subject to while reading, does not end after the last sentence.«

Linda Stift / Die Presse am Sonntag, Vienna

»You should read Highsmith because she dared to look into the abyss where our blackest thoughts reside.«

John Vervoort / De Standaard, Brussels

»The notion that her books do not belong on those shelves because the complexity of their characters or the acuity with which they interrogate social mores, is laughable – for this is exactly what the very best crime novels do.
It is why they endure. It is why we find them irresistible.
And it is why we will likely be reading Patricia Highsmith for the next one hundred years, too.«

Paula Hawkins / crimereads.com

»The profusion of Ripley-esque stories is perhaps no coincidence. For the con-artistry of Ripley speaks more than ever to our Instagram age, where the carefully-curated and crafted image trumps reality.«

Hugh Montgomery / BBC, London

»Highsmith’s writing style keeps you on the edge of your seat.«

Terri-Jane Dow / Mslexia, Newcastle Upon Tyne

»Tense, compelling and disturbing, though her subject matter is, Highsmith’s writing is sharp and witty – and incredibly readable.«

Terri-Jane Dow / Mslexia, Newcastle Upon Tyne
»Many of her stories reflect the kind of breathtaking misanthropy that could only have been achieved over a lifetime. And virtually all share the same sense of macabre inevitability, which means that the number of stories end up in almost that many deaths. Ms. Highsmith was never one for halfway solutions. What is interesting about Ms. Highsmith is that instead of describing such an denouement with suitably ghoulish overtones, she typically treats it in almost businesslike fashion. Her interest is in the generally unspeakable tensions and resentments that lead up to such outbursts, not in the messy side of murder.«
Janet Maslin / The New York Times
»Patricia Highsith was the undisputed mistress as well as one of the creators of the modern psychological crime novel.«
Simon Shaw / Mail on Sunday
»Patricia Highsmith keeps moving, darting in and out of our fields of vision, making afterimages that will tremble – but stay – in our minds.«
The New Yorker
»For eliciting the menace that lurks in familiar surroundings, there's no one like Patricia Highsmith.«
The Times, London
»Patricia Highsmith is a giant of the genre. The original, the best, the gloriously twisted Queen of Suspense.«
»Patricia Highsmith was every bit as deviant and quirky as her mischievous heroes, and didn't seem to mind if everyone knew it.«
Daily Telegraph
»Patricia Highsmith should be considered an essential postwar writer who captured the neurotic apprehensions of her times. By her hypnotic art Patricia Highsmith puts the suspense story into a toweringly high place in the hierarchy of fiction.«
The Times
»Patricia Highsmith, the greatest of all crime writers.«
The Times, London
»One thinks of comparing Miss Highsmith only with herself; by any other standard of comparison, one must simply cheer.«
Auberon Waugh
»To call Patricia Highsmith a thriller writer is true but not the whole truth: her books have stylistic texture, psychological depth, mesmeric readability.«
Sunday Times, London
»Although she is today one of the world's most widely read contemporary authors, there is still more of Patricia Highsmith to discover…«
Le Monde, Paris

»Miss Highsmith is a novelist whose books one can re-read many times. There are very few of whom one can say that. She has created a world of her own - a world claustrophobic and irrational which we enter each time with a sense of personal danger. [...] Highsmith is the poet of apprehension.«

Graham Greene
»One of our greatest modernist writers.«
Gore Vidal
»Patricia Highsmith is a giant of the genre. The original, the best, the gloriously twisted Queen of Suspense.«
Mark Billingham
»Patricia 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 / Daily Telegraph, London
»Patricia Highsmith should be considered an essential postwar writer who captured the neurotic apprehensions of her times. By her hypnotic art Patricia Highsmith puts the suspense story into a toweringly high place in the hierarchy of fiction.«
The Times, London

»For some unknown reason Patricia Highsmith, one of the most important modern narrators, is regarded as an author of crime novels. She is both.«

Gore Vidal

»To read Highsmith’s stories is a delight, a real celebration.«

Alex Rühle / Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich

»In the best stories, there is a clarity in terms of composition and a unity in tone that reminds you of Edgar Allan Poe, staged with a backdrop that evokes Edward Hopper.«

Tiziano Gianotti / La Repubblica, Rome

»Ripley has always been a source of inspiration for cinema, which is what makes him lively, shining and omnipresent until today.«

Nadia Terranova / La Stampa, Torino

»The grande dame of the thriller turns 100 and is more up to date than ever. Her creatures are patrolling the moral low life of our nature, committing their cruelest crimes.«

Laura Ventura / La Nación, Buenos Aires

»Truly, Highsmith, who was an avid reader of Dostoevsky and Kierkegaard, illuminates the shimmering shades of good and evil.«

Maike Albath / Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich

»Highsmith's unfathomable nature is every bit as deep as Fyodor Dostoevsky or Joseph Conrad’s hellscapes.«

Jan Wilm / Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zurich

»... queen of psychological suspense.«

The Guardian, London

»Patricia Highsmith will take you on a journey, into temptation, passion, guilt, cruelty and danger. She is the voice that dogs you in the dark, seductive and persuasive, nightmarish yet irresistible.«

Amanda Craig

»I love the addictive quality of Highsmith's novels, her ›low hypnotic murmur‹ or the feverish, lyrical prose in Carol.«

Jill Dawson

»Although I'm a great admirer of Patricia Highsmith's thrillers and the complex moral landscape she explores, for me the high watermark will always be Carol, aka The Price of Salt«

Val McDermid

»Highsmith (1921-1995) introduced new layers of psychological complexity to the crime thriller, one key reason why filmmakers continue to be so attracted to her.«

Geoffrey Macnab / The Independent, London

»Whereas other crime writers’ work often becomes dated or seems tied to a specific period or place, Highsmith’s books have enduring and universal appeal.«

Geoffrey Macnab / The Independent, London

»We are often drawn into Highsmith’s claustrophobic world like flies tentatively exploring the gossamer strands of a spider’s web.«

Andrew Wilson / The Sunday Times, London

»The canonization of Patricia Highsmith – doyenne of the psychological suspense novel, depressive homosexual, mean drunk, and one of the greatest, darkest American storytellers since Poe – has officially begun.«

Terry Castle

»When you read one of Highsmith’s stories, you’ve given her permission to follow you, catch you, take you apart. Get ready to run.«

Carmen Maria Machado / The Guardian, London

»The 21st century – when imposture is at the heart of online life, when self-identification precedes authenticity – seems more and more like the age of Tom Ripley, Highsmith’s greatest creation.«

Matthew Sperling / Apollo Magazine, London

»She revolutionized the detective novel by inventing, just after the Second World War, the psychological thriller.«

Élise Lépine / Alibi, Paris

»Nobody describes the horror of murder more vividly.«

Nando Salvà / El Periódico, Barcelona

»And ever since Hitchcock’s classic Strangers on a Train (1951), Highsmith grows more filmable every year, perhaps because our world is so swiftly catching up with the sort of people she wrote about: men and women who lie, commit forgery, and develop manipulative fictions to damage everyone around them.«

Scott Bradfield / The Spectator, London

»Her works keep their powerful attraction intact, the sensation that, by them, we draw closer to the abyss from which we are trying to run away from.«

Guillermo Altares / El País, Madrid

»Reading her is like having a devil on your shoulder arguing that decency and good citizenship are boring and cowardly, and so compellingly that you’ve acquiesced before you know it.«

Jake Kerridge / The Telegraph, London

»She was also the first to make short work of the hitherto almost sacred dualism of good and bad, and cancelled out the traditional ending«

Charles den Tex and Anneloes Timmerije / De Volkskrant, Amsterdam

»With a concise and minimalistic style, inspired by Maupassant, Highsmith draws a character who is the pinnacle of the inversion of values postulated by Nietzsche and who tramples traditional values.«

Rafael Narbona / El Cultural, Madrid

»Highsmith wanted to show the murderers, almost murderers and murder fantasists from the inside because it rarely shows from the outside.«

Jürgen Kaube / Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Frankfurt

»The constant inner apprehension, which one is subject to while reading, does not end after the last sentence.«

Linda Stift / Die Presse am Sonntag, Vienna

»You should read Highsmith because she dared to look into the abyss where our blackest thoughts reside.«

John Vervoort / De Standaard, Brussels

»The notion that her books do not belong on those shelves because the complexity of their characters or the acuity with which they interrogate social mores, is laughable – for this is exactly what the very best crime novels do.
It is why they endure. It is why we find them irresistible.
And it is why we will likely be reading Patricia Highsmith for the next one hundred years, too.«

Paula Hawkins / crimereads.com

»The profusion of Ripley-esque stories is perhaps no coincidence. For the con-artistry of Ripley speaks more than ever to our Instagram age, where the carefully-curated and crafted image trumps reality.«

Hugh Montgomery / BBC, London

»Highsmith’s writing style keeps you on the edge of your seat.«

Terri-Jane Dow / Mslexia, Newcastle Upon Tyne

»Tense, compelling and disturbing, though her subject matter is, Highsmith’s writing is sharp and witty – and incredibly readable.«

Terri-Jane Dow / Mslexia, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Expand all
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Kleine Mordgeschichten für Tierfreunde
Der Mann, der seine Bücher im Kopf schrieb
Der talentierte Mr. Ripley
Tiefe Wasser
Die zwei Gesichter des Januars
Zwei Fremde im Zug
Ladies
Trautes Heim
Elsies Lebenslust
Der Schrei der Eule
Salz und sein Preis
Die zwei Gesichter des Januars
Als die Flotte im Hafen lag