Strangers On A Train

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Strangers On A Train

by Patricia Highsmith

WW Norton | September 4, 2001 | Trade Paperback

Strangers On A Train is rated 3.3333 out of 5 by 3.
The world of Patricia Highsmith has always been filled with ordinary people, all of whom are capable of very ordinary crimes. This theme was present from the beginning, when her debut, Strangers on a Train, galvanized the reading public. 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. "Some people are better off dead," Bruno remarks, "like your wife and my father, for instance." As Bruno carries out his twisted plan, Guy is trapped in Highsmith's perilous world, where, under the right circumstances, anybody is capable of murder.

The inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1951 film, Strangers on a Train launched Highsmith on a prolific career of noir fiction, proving her a master at depicting the unsettling forces that tremble beneath the surface of everyday contemporary life.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 256 pages, 8.2 × 5.51 × 0.7 in

Published: September 4, 2001

Publisher: WW Norton

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0393321983

ISBN - 13: 9780393321982

Found in: Literary, Mystery and Suspense

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Strangers on a Train Excellent psychological thriller. I enjoyed the portrayal of the lead character as a man who seems to have it all, bright future, beautiful fiance, but a chance encounter on a train with a sociopath draws him into a downward spiral. It is through this decline that we see him as a weak willed man, albeit a talented one. A classic for mystery lovers.
Date published: 2014-07-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not For Me What can I say about this book? There is no question that Highsmith is a talented writer, able to paint her readers a picture with great attention to detail. Unfortunately, this book did not suck me in as I was expecting it to. It started off well, but then just at the point where I expected it to pick up, it didn't. It's odd. The concept is intriguing - two men, one bored and directionless, the other quiet and his own worst enemy, meet on a train, where the former proposes that they switch murders. The latter rebuffs the idea, but when his train companion goes ahead with the plan, he finds himself trapped. I really wanted to like this book. But I suppose it just moved too slowly. I still intend to check out Highsmith's other novels, the Ripley series, but I'll be going into that hoping for a little bit more. Strangers on a Train is an interesting idea and the story has layers to it. For some people, I'm sure this book could be quite enjoyable. Sadly, I'm just not one of them.
Date published: 2011-04-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not strange enough... This book is not nearly as frightening as it is unbelievable. We learn what the main subject of the book is very quickly; a perfect murder. It’s supposed to be the perfect crime; you kill my father and I will kill your wife. We are strangers, so we have no link to each other’s victims except this meeting. This is what Charles Bruno suggests to Guy Haines on the train where they meet for the first time, and improbably, they quickly get into a conversation about murdering each other’s burdens. The way Bruno injects himself into Guy’s life after this is sly, but is also unconvincing. We are told that the murder of Miriam (Guy’s wife from which he is seeking a divorce) is Bruno’s first murder. However, Bruno does it with such ease and eagerness that he seems more like a seasoned killer than an amateur. While some read this book to be a deep look at the criminal mind, to me it is more a light skim of human guilt and it’s reactions. The reader is given more description about the superficial things like food and appearances than deep emotional and personal experiences. Later on in the book, when we find out how successful Guy is in his career, it’s surprising because Guy’s life is never described with much depth. There is also a lot we never learn about Bruno or his past, but this doesn’t seem necessarily intentional. While I do see the allusions of incest, specifically in Bruno’s descriptions of his own mother, I never see the homosexual references that everyone seems to describe when talking about Highsmith’s writing. Bruno’s descriptions of Guy seem to be more about envy than attraction. Bruno is fascinated and jealous of Guy’s world, and Bruno lives in that world through his platonic but obsessive relationship with Guy. Also, Bruno’s death is simpler than it should be and seems like an easy way to get rid of a character to allow the book to end the way Highsmith intended. This book is the original, male, and most importantly, less frightening, version of Single White Female. Not the story I expected it to be and certainly not as much depth as a lot of people seem to give it credit for.
Date published: 2009-09-19

– More About This Product –

Strangers On A Train

Strangers On A Train

by Patricia Highsmith

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 256 pages, 8.2 × 5.51 × 0.7 in

Published: September 4, 2001

Publisher: WW Norton

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0393321983

ISBN - 13: 9780393321982

From the Publisher

The world of Patricia Highsmith has always been filled with ordinary people, all of whom are capable of very ordinary crimes. This theme was present from the beginning, when her debut, Strangers on a Train, galvanized the reading public. 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. "Some people are better off dead," Bruno remarks, "like your wife and my father, for instance." As Bruno carries out his twisted plan, Guy is trapped in Highsmith's perilous world, where, under the right circumstances, anybody is capable of murder.

The inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1951 film, Strangers on a Train launched Highsmith on a prolific career of noir fiction, proving her a master at depicting the unsettling forces that tremble beneath the surface of everyday contemporary life.

About the Author

Patricia Highsmith (1921–1995) was the author of more than twenty novels, including Strangers on a Train, The Price of Salt, The Blunderer and The Talented Mr. Ripley, as well as numerous short stories.

Editorial Reviews

An incredible study of psychological torture and how fine the membrane is between normality and the underlying darkness. — Tana French

Strangers on a Train is a moral-vertigo thriller: Crime and Punishment for a post-atomic age. — Tom Nolan (The Los Angeles Times)