Devils, Lusts and Strange Desires: The Life of Patricia Highsmith by Professor Richa Bradford


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Made famous by the great success of her psychological thrillers, ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ and ‘Strangers on a Train’, Patricia Highsmith is lauded as one of the great modern writers. The triangular relationship between Highsmith’s lesbianism, her fraught personality – by parts self-destructive and malicious – and her fiction has been largely avoided by other biographers. She was openly lesbian and would, in modern times, be venerated as a radical exponent of an LGBT lifestyle. However, her status as an exemplar of gay radicalism is undermined by the incontrovertible fact that she was gratuitously cruel and exploitative of her lovers. This biography places Highsmith’s successes in context with her troubled personal life, her anti-Semitism and her misogyny.

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