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People Who Knock on the Door: A Virago Modern Classic

Patricia Highsmith

4 Reviews

Rated 0

Virago Modern Classics, Fiction, Classic fiction (pre c 1945)

People Who Knock on the Door, is a tale about blind faith and the slippery notion of justice that lies beneath the peculiarly American veneer of righteousness.

'A border zone of the macabre, the disturbing, the not quite accidental . . . Highsmith achieves the effect of the occult without any resources to supernatural machinery' New York Times Book Review

In a pitiless story of prying suburban self-righteousness, Patricia Highsmith introduces the Alderman family as they descend into moral crisis. When small-town insurance salesman Richard Alderman becomes a born-again Christian, his once tight-knit family quickly begins to rip apart at the seams. He and his youngest son, Robbie, embrace their newfound faith, while his elder son Arthur rejects it. Caught in the middle of the ensuing web of lies, his wife, Lois, tries to keep the family together, but when the church elders start to interfere in Arthur's love life, events spiral toward violence. In this masterful late work, Highsmith weaves a powerful tale about blind faith and the peculiar ideas of justice that lie underneath the veneer of respectability.

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Praise for People Who Knock on the Door: A Virago Modern Classic

  • Venomously accurate - Sunday Times

  • A border zone of the macabre, the disturbing, the not quite accidental . . . Highsmith achieves the effect of the occult without any resources to supernatural machinery - New York Times Book Review

  • A writer who has created a world of her own . . . Patricia Highsmith is the poet of apprehension - Graham Greene

  • No one has created psychological suspense more densely and deliciously satisfying - Vogue

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Patricia Highsmith

Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995) was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and moved to New York when she was six, where she attended the Julia Richman High School and Barnard College. In her senior year she edited the college magazine, having decided at the age of sixteen to become a writer. Her first novel, Strangers on a Train, was made into a classic film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951. The Talented Mr Ripley, published in 1955, introduced the fascinating anti-hero Tom Ripley, and was made into an Oscar-winning film in 1999 by Anthony Minghella. Graham Greene called Patricia Highsmith 'the poet of apprehension', saying that she 'created a world of her own - a world claustrophobic and irrational which we enter each time with a sense of personal danger' and The Times named her no.1 in their list of the greatest ever crime writers. Patricia Highsmith died in Locarno, Switzerland, in February 1995. Her last novel, Small g: A Summer Idyll, was published posthumously, the same year.

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