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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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1,355375,685 (3.78)75
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
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Tags:novel, lesbian fiction

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The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (1952)

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English (33)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (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. ( )
  askajnaiman | Jun 14, 2016 |
Lonely shopgirl/aspiring set designer Therese's life is changed suddenly and definitively when she meets Carol, an older, sophisticated but equally lonely woman trapped in complicated divorce proceedings. The two women embark on a lesbian relationship (obliquely described by today's standards) and take a rather pointless road trip to the Western half of the United States. Under Carol's influence, Therese dumps her safe but prosaic boyfriend and comes of age as a more fully realized version of herself.

Other readers say that this story has a happy ending (because neither heroine ends up insane or dead), but I am not sure I see it. I find the ending ambiguous. I have the feeling that Therese will spend the rest of her life trying to recapture what she had with either Carol herself or with a Carol-substitute but will find it is not possible because she is not the same person as she was when she was with her first love. Carol herself is not a sympathetic character; she is selfish and toys with Therese's affections.

In my opinion, this novel is best read as a 1950s period piece about forbidden love, in which feelings are heightened or deadened by excessive drinking and smoking. ( )
  akblanchard | May 14, 2016 |
At the time, an unusual happy ending for a homosexual love between two woman ( )
  AnneliM | May 13, 2016 |
This is one of those books that is thought provoking. The first things one should consider about this book are actually contained in the afterword written by the author. This book was written in the 1950's when being gay was still considered an illness and a depraved madness. People who identified as gay or realized they were, went to great lengths to hide that fact and their relationships were often difficult and required extreme personal sacrifices and choices that can not even be imagined in today's environment of relative social tolerance.

With that being said, the story kicks off in the early 1950's when Therese, a set designer working a casual holiday job at a department store, meets Carol Aird. Carol is n the process of getting a divorce and going through a custody battle over her daughter Rindy.

The book unfolds slowly from that jumping off point. This is not a book that jumps from one action point to the next. It is a character study and it unfolds very slowly and very gradually. I don't want to give much away because it would detract from the reader's opportunity to discover this for themselves.

I can say that I went through a range of feelings about the two characters and that there were some points in the story that I was feeling very pessimistic about them and other times when I was just plain annoyed by their behaviors and choices. I usually had to step back at that point and reset my mind to time and place.

For those who are unfamiliar with gay and lesbian history, this book is a little slice of life for what it was like for men and women during that period and for some of the prevailing attitudes and opinions towards people who identified as gay and lesbian.

I have not seen the movie. I definitely wanted to read the book first. I knew in the end that I would enjoy it because I absolutely LOVED “The Talented Mr. Ripley” also by Patricia Highsmith. A great read but approach this as a marathon, not a sprint. Although the book is not long, it is slow. It is meant to be savored rather than devoured. ( )
  ozzieslim | Apr 30, 2016 |
A story that feels both authentic and accurate, about not only a young woman's coming of age, but also of her relationships with men and a woman named Carol. The characters are complex and difficult - full of love and sadness and hope - and therein lies the honesty. A book about relationships that doesn't rely on stereotypes or caricatures is incredibly refreshing. Considering the era in which this book was written/published, it is truly groundbreaking. ( )
  BooksForYears | Mar 31, 2016 |
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Important places
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Epigraph
Dedication
To Edna, Jordy and Jeff
First words
The lunch hour in the co-workers' cafeteria at Frankenberg's had reached its peak.
Quotations
Happiness was like a green vine spreading through her, stretching fine tendrils, bearing flowers through her flesh.
She had seen just now what she had only sensed before, that the whole world was ready to be their enemy, and suddenly what she and Carol had together seemed no longer love or anything happy but a monster between them, with each of them caught in a fist.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:19 -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)

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