Patricia Highsmith: This is not a guide review

Patricia Highsmith has literally told the story since the seed was planted. The author goes back to what she calls the “seed” of her works to explain the impulse, the charm or the vague ideas at the origin of writing. In order to preserve the pictures, ideas are the root of everything – “Ideas are my favorite kind of blessing” (p.12). What a frustrating tautology suggests is perhaps one of the major factors in Highsmith’s work – especially that exposed in Suspense. It is one of the antidotes to the poison of “utilitarianism” which could prove deadly. When everything is rooted in the idea – to the detriment of the hypothesis, characters, style, character of language, or the act itself – the ideas are not an immobilized totem, a testimony that can be passed en bloc. In addition, each idea or set of ideas serves the purpose for which it was designed, but there is no need to adapt it to other people’s projects. It is obvious that one cannot expect a lesson to be too coordinated, let alone a package of lessons that are so refractory to conventional from someone. Although reason is the central organizer of this notion of writing, in which “ideas” play a central role, Patricia Highsmith does not fully believe the forces that are there, or rather reason. Not that he gives in to a “mysticism”, as he will say, but because he is receptive to what is instinctive, instinctive or even illogical in the processes that he so skilfully describes – “it is not always possible, just one to make a good book through logic ”(p.46).

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