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The Price of Salt (1952)

by Patricia Highsmith

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,260815,048 (3.83)1 / 123
A chance encounter between two lonely women leads to a passionate romance in this lesbian cult classic. Therese, a struggling young sales clerk, and Carol, a homemaker in the midst of a bitter divorce, abandon their oppressive daily routines for the freedom of the open road, where their love can blossom. But their newly discovered bliss is shattered when Carol is forced to choose between her child and her lover. Author Patricia Highsmith is best known for her psychological thrillers Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. Originally published in 1952 under a pseudonym, The Price of Salt was heralded as "the novel of a love society forbids." Highsmith's sensitive treatment of fully realized characters who defy stereotypes about homosexuality marks a departure from previous lesbian pulp fiction. Erotic, eloquent, and suspenseful, this story offers an honest look at the necessity of being true to one's nature. The book is also the basis of the acclaimed 2015 film Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.… (more)
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» See also 123 mentions

English (77)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (81)
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
No idea what went wrong with this book for me. I was really enjoying it and then decided that I just couldn’t be bothered finishing it.
No idea.
First few chapters were lovely :) ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
A compelling and elegantly-written tale about clandestine love in a patriarchal society. Therese is a lively protagonist and Carol is appropriately complex and mysterious. Highsmith writes some great prose--will definitely be checking out more of her work in the future. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
A bit sloggy. The movie captured it perfectly (I didn't care much for the movie!). You feel like you're reading something respectably written, but it never really grabbed me.

(Note: 5 stars = amazing, wonderful, 4 = very good book, 3 = decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful. I'm fairly good at picking for myself so end up with a lot of 4s). I feel a lot of readers automatically render any book they enjoy 5, but I grade on a curve! ( )
  ashleytylerjohn | Oct 13, 2020 |
I like the more thoughtful, "internal" writing here. Having read other books by Highsmith, I wondered if there would be a bit of evil in here. I will leave it to the next reader to discover.

Therese, living not-so-large but with dreams, meets Carol, who offers more than wealth. Therese finds feelings for Carol that she would never have expected, and goes with them. Given that this was written in the 1950s it must have been shocking for some. It seems, though, that even during repressed times there are people who can see more clearly.

Very worth reading. I might recommend it to my book club! ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
This is a very well written piece, because even though I didn't like either of the main characters, I was enthralled by their story. This was a bit of an emotional whirlwind and contained one of my favorite scenarios, The Great American Road Trip. I felt bad and angry for what they were going through, it struck too close to home. ( )
  JulianaMD | Jun 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (45 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patricia Highsmithprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lefkow, LaurelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Original title
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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.
I don't mean people like that. I mean two people who fall in love suddenly with each other, out of the blue. Say two men or two girls ... I suppose it could happen, though, to almost anyone, couldn't it?
They're not horrid. One's just supposed to conform. I know what they'd like, they'd like a blank they could fill in. A person already filled in disturbs them terribly.
Remember what you said about physics not applying to people? ... Well, I’m not sure you’re
right ... Take friendships, for instance. I can think of a lot of cases where the two people have nothing in common. I think there’s a definite reason for every friendship just as there’s a reason why certain atoms unite and others don’t—certain missing factors in one, or certain present factors in the other—what do you think? I think friendships are the result of certain needs that can be completely hidden from both people, sometimes hidden forever.
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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Blurbers
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

A chance encounter between two lonely women leads to a passionate romance in this lesbian cult classic. Therese, a struggling young sales clerk, and Carol, a homemaker in the midst of a bitter divorce, abandon their oppressive daily routines for the freedom of the open road, where their love can blossom. But their newly discovered bliss is shattered when Carol is forced to choose between her child and her lover. Author Patricia Highsmith is best known for her psychological thrillers Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. Originally published in 1952 under a pseudonym, The Price of Salt was heralded as "the novel of a love society forbids." Highsmith's sensitive treatment of fully realized characters who defy stereotypes about homosexuality marks a departure from previous lesbian pulp fiction. Erotic, eloquent, and suspenseful, this story offers an honest look at the necessity of being true to one's nature. The book is also the basis of the acclaimed 2015 film Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.

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Book description
Arguably Patricia Highsmith's finest, The Price of Salt is the 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.
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W.W. Norton

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