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Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

Strangers on a Train (1950)

by Patricia Highsmith

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (49)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Two men meet on the train, and their lives intertwine with murder, guilt, and a gradual descent to madness. Bruno, the rotten man, haunts and coerces Guy, the seemingly good one; but they are more alike then they seem: there is good and evil in everyone. There are interesting themes at play, and this would have made an excellent short story. However, it is drawn out too long, and we spend much of our time in the increasingly unhinged mind of Bruno, and the tragically self-destructive, tortured thoughts of Guy. Well written, and psychologically suspenseful, but somewhat repetitive and boring in parts, especially in the middle. ( )
  Gezemice | Mar 8, 2019 |
The classic story of a "murder exchange," adapted (with great liberty) by Hitchcock. 3.5 stars, bumped up because it really is brilliant and accomplishes exactly what it intends to, but reluctantly because I was ready for it all to be over by the 75% mark. We slog through the slow unraveling and breakdown of not one but two characters, each despicable in his own ways. Psychologically intriguing but sometimes hard to bear with people I cared nothing for. Worth it (to me) for the classic plot and the depth of philosophical questions, about the sometimes connection of guilt to madness, about the degree of evil in the everyman, about the blindness of society to anything it doesn't expect or want to deal with.

Written with an intimacy in point of view that makes everything as maddening and exhausting and sickening as it is for the characters. I have to tip my hat to Highsmith for that. At one point, I imagined how much tighter the pacing would be if James M. Cain had had this idea instead. Then I imagined how tediously difficult a read Double Indemnity would be if Highsmith had gotten that idea. ( )
  AmandaGStevens | Mar 2, 2019 |
I knew going into this that it was the story of two men who meet on a train and discuss killing each other's problems (one man's wife, the other man's father). I did not know, however, what a great psychological thriller it would turn out to be. I really enjoyed it. And like all books I enjoy, I don't have anything else to say about it.

A note on the audio: Bronson Pinchot was a pleasant surprise. I've only ever see him in Perfect Strangers but there was no trace of Balki here. He was excellent, even if we do disagree on the number of syllables in the word "boredly". ( )
  melydia | Dec 25, 2018 |
She knows how to write amazing sentences and make you feel something for sociopaths. Charley is a bit like Tom Ripley mark one, sadder and less suave but just as needy and ambiguous. Very disturbing, great book. ( )
  sansmerci | Oct 5, 2018 |
3.5 stars

When Guy is on a train from New York to Texas, in order to obtain a divorce from his wife, he meets Bruno. While in conversation, Bruno makes a proposal: if Bruno kills Guy’s wife, Guy should kill Bruno’s father, in return. They don’t really know each other, so neither would be suspected of murder. Guy is rightly horrified with the thought, but Bruno won’t give up that easily.

This was good. Very much a psychological novel, as we are mostly in Guy’s mind as he tries to deal with Bruno, and at the same time, move on with his life. It does switch to a couple of other perspectives, as well, but mostly we follow Guy. Good book. ( )
  LibraryCin | Sep 23, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Highsmith, Patriciaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andrew, IanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ayala, JoanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Docktor, IrvIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eräpuro, AnnikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hitchcock, AlfredForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roberts, WilliamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The train tore along with an angry, irregular rhythm. It was having to stop at smaller and more frequent stations, where it would wait impatiently for a moment, then attack the prarie again. But progress was imperceptible. The prarie only undulated like a vast, pink-tan blanket being casually shaken. The faster the train went, the more bouyant and taunting the undulations.

Guy took his eyes from the window and hitched himself back against the seat.
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Book description
Almost against his will, Guy Haines is trapped in a nightmare of shared guilt when he agrees to kill the father of the man who will kill Guy's wife.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393321983, Paperback)

A major new reissue of the work of a classic noir novelist.

With the acclaim for The Talented Mr. Ripley, more film projects in production, and two biographies forthcoming, expatriate legend Patricia Highsmith would be shocked to see that she has finally arrived in her homeland. Throughout her career, Highsmith brought a keen literary eye and a genius for plumbing the psychopathic mind to more than thirty works of fiction, unparalleled in their placid deviousness and sardonic humor. With deadpan accuracy, she delighted in creating true sociopaths in the guise of the everyday man or woman. Now, one of her finest works is again in print: Strangers on a Train, Highsmith's first novel and the source for Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1953 film. With this novel, Highsmith revels in eliciting the unsettling psychological forces that lurk beneath the surface of everyday contemporary life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:59 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"Here we encounter Guy Haines and Charles Anthony Bruno, passengers on the same train. But while Guy is a successful architect in the midst of a divorce, Bruno turns out to be a sadistic psychopath who manipulates Guy into swapping murders with him."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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Average: (3.7)
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W.W. Norton

An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.

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