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The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith
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The Price of Salt (original 1952; edition 2004)

by Patricia Highsmith, W. W. Norton

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1,006228,489 (3.73)39
Member:almigwin
Title:The Price of Salt
Authors:Patricia Highsmith
Other authors:W. W. Norton
Info:W.W. Norton & Co. (2004), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library (inactive)
Rating:
Tags:novel, lesbian fiction

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The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (1952)

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English (19)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
I have been looking forward to reading "Carol" for years and I was even quite excited by the style when I started but it was pretty slow going all the way through. I still don't really understand either Therese or Carol, except for in very particular moments (moments from which I cannot see how they get to their next thought/action most of the time). Insightful at times but for me, mostly too abstruse. ( )
  Evalangui | Aug 22, 2014 |
Library Thing prediction was absolutely correct. I did not like this book. Read the first one hundred pages and then, it was all a repetition of the same conversations, etc. ( )
  sogamonk | Jul 12, 2014 |
It's more of a 2.8 review.

The Price of Salt was ahead of its time. It was a realistic and mature look of a same sex relationship between a slightly naïve 19 year old, Therese Belivet and the older newly divorced Carol Aird.

After falling in love at practically first sight after helping her find a particular doll, Therese decides to send Carol a Christmas card. Carol replies to the gesture by taking her out to lunch. As they get closer and the more Carol's divorce takes its toll, the two decide to go on a cross country trip that ends up being more therapuetic and revealing than the two would ever expect.

It was difficult for me to really like this book. Its pace was slow which probably contributed to it but I did not mind it. I actually did not like Carol. She was too cold and distant for me to empathized with her. I should have felt bad especially over her dilemma over her divorce and losing custody of her daughter but I didn't. Highsmith really tried to make her a sympathetic character but I didn't buy it.

I did feel bad over Therese's treatment over Richard. He was slightly controlling but I thought Carol was much worse. He seemed to be a good guy and she was very distant and dismissive towards him. I hated that Therese fell helplessly in love with Carol and was sort of a puppet until the last 30 pages of the book. That was the redeeming quality of The Price of Salt. ( )
  Y2Ash | Apr 16, 2014 |
I suppose I didn't get the feeling that Carol was that aloof or cold. Nor did I think the book was about sexual obsession.

To me, it seemed like a very well told story of a young, inexperienced, insecure girl (Therese) falling in love with an older woman (Carol), who is more experienced, and has a lot to lose. So, yes, often Therese worries or thinks that Carol is being cold, or aloof, but this is just her insecurity. Carol has many worries, which we slowly find out about as the story progresses, and to me, it seemed like Therese was the needy, insecure, and cold in many ways. She is very much a colossal id that needs feeding, and when it is not fed, decides others are not paying attention to it and sulks. Carol has moods, but they are very much due to real problems she is having in her life, like the divorce and custody case. Carol also hesitates more than Therese in letting herself being carried away by her feelings, as expected; she has been there before, and again, she has a lot to lose, unlike Therese who has no family, no obligations, and not even a job. So I disagree that Carol is cold and mean to Therese. I also disagree that the book is about sexual obsession, unless sexual obsession means wanting to have sex with someone you have a crush on.

The only thing that bothered me about it all was Carol's apparent heartbreak over losing custody of her daughter. This seems a bit out of character. Carol seems to be the type of person who would say, well, I am what I am, and perhaps it's best for me not to have a child and live the way I want (considering back then having a child and being in a same-sex relationship was very difficult and rare). She does not seem to be the type of woman who would be crushed not to have custody of her little girl. But then again, I think I am seeing Carol the way I want to, instead of believing the thing Highsmith has shown throughout the novel. I want Carol to say, sod off you lot! Take the child, I don't care! But clearly, she is not the carefree woman I want her to be, and due to either societal pressure, or the idea of herself as a mother, or actual genuine love for this child, she tries and fails to gain custody. Perhaps that is in character; after all, she does put up a good fight, considering the evidence proving her "deviance."

I do agree that Highsmith has a certain distance from her characters, and she seems to exact revenge on them at times with her cruel observations. At times, it seems that Highsmith is a misanthrope, and one with not very high opinion of men.

In the end, Price of Salt is a great novel, regardless the sexual orientation of the characters. It is not a great queer novel, it is simply a great novel that happens to have queer characters in it. It could very well have been about a heterosexual love affair, and Highsmith would have written a great novel anyway. ( )
  bluepigeon | Dec 15, 2013 |
Patricia Highsmith is best known as the dark, misanthropic author of suspense classics Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. If it seems in congruous that her second novel was a lesbian pulp romance (originally published in the 1950s under a pseudonym ), pick up a copy and it’ll all make sense. The Price of Salt has as much to do with obsession as with love, and its most gripping passages, including a cross-country road trip/car chase, are just as sinister as Highsmith’s more famous novels. ( )
  circumspice | Jun 25, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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To Edna, Jordy and Jeff
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The lunch hour in the co-workers' cafeteria at Frankenberg's had reached its peak.
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Carol was first published in the USA under the title The Price of Salt, 1952, and the author's pseudonym of Claire Morgan.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393325997, Paperback)

Now recognized as a masterwork, the scandalous novel that anticipated Nabokov's Lolita.

"I have long had a theory that Nabokov knew The Price of Salt and modeled the climactic cross-country car chase in Lolita on Therese and Carol's frenzied bid for freedom," writes Terry Castle in The New Republic about this novel, arguably Patricia Highsmith's finest, first published in 1952 under the pseudonym Clare Morgan. Soon to be a new film, The Price of Salt tells the riveting story of Therese Belivet, a stage designer trapped in a department-store day job, whose salvation arrives one day in the form of Carol Aird, an alluring suburban housewife in the throes of a divorce. They fall in love and set out across the United States, pursued by a private investigator who eventually blackmails Carol into a choice between her daughter and her lover. With this reissue, The Price of Salt may finally be recognized as a major twentieth-century American novel.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:48 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

From the Publisher: "I have long had a theory that Nabokov knew The Price of Salt and modeled the climactic cross-country car chase in Lolita on Therese and Carol's frenzied bid for freedom," writes Terry Castle in The New Republic about this novel, arguably Patricia Highsmith's finest, first published in 1952 under the pseudonym Clare Morgan. Soon to be a new film, The Price of Salt tells the riveting story of Therese Belivet, a stage designer trapped in a department-store day job, whose salvation arrives one day in the form of Carol Aird, an alluring suburban housewife in the throes of a divorce. They fall in love and set out across the United States, pursued by a private investigator who eventually blackmails Carol into a choice between her daughter and her lover. With this reissue, The Price of Salt may finally be recognized as a major twentieth-century American novel.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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