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The Glass Cell: A Virago Modern Classic

Patricia Highsmith

6 Reviews

Rated 0

Virago Modern Classics, Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Crime & mystery, Thriller / suspense

In 1961, Patricia Highsmith received a fan letter from a prison inmate. A correspondence ensued and Highsmith became fascinated with the psychological traumas that incarceration can inflict.

'Highsmith writes about men like a spider writing about flies' OBSERVER
'For eliciting the menace that lurks in familiar surroundings, there's no one like Patricia Highsmith' TIME 'The Glass Cell has lost little of its disturbing power . . . Highsmith was a genuine one-off' DAILY TELEGRAPH

Based on a true story, The Glass Cell is Highsmith's deeply disturbing fictionalisation of everything she learned. Falsely convicted of fraud, the easy-going but naive Philip Carter is sent to prison. Despite his devotion to Hazel, his wife, and the support of David Sullivan, a lawyer and friend who tries to avenge the injustice done to him, Carter endures six lonely and drug-ravaged years. Upon his release, Carter is a much more discerning, suspicious, and violent man. His beautiful wife is waiting for him. He has never had any reason to doubt her. For those around him, earning back his trust can mean the difference between life and death.

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Praise for The Glass Cell: A Virago Modern Classic

  • Bears Highsmith's unique, unsurpassed mixture of unsettling psychological insights, moods of tension and malice, and an ending of brilliant ambiguity - The Times

  • There's more to Patricia Highsmith than Ripley - Guardian

  • My suspicion is that when the dust has settled and when the chronicle of twentieth century American literature comes to be written, history will place Highsmith at the top of the pyramid, as we should place Dostoevsky at the top of the Russian hierarchy of novelists - Daily Telegraph

  • Highsmith writes about men like a spider writing about flies - Observer

  • For eliciting the menace that lurks in familiar surroundings, there's no one like Patricia Highsmith - Time

  • [Highsmith's] characters are irrational, and they leap to life in their very lack of reason; suddenly we realize how unbelievably rational most fictional characters are. . . . Highsmith is the poet of apprehension rather than fear

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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. 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 (1950), was made into a classic film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951. The Talented Mr Ripley (1955), introduced the fascinating anti-hero Tom Ripley, and was made into an Oscar-winning film in 1999 by Anthony Minghella. 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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