Devils, Lusts and Strange Desires
The Life of Patricia Highsmith
Made famous by the great success of her psychological thrillers, The Talented Mr Ripley and Strangers on a Train, Patricia Highsmith is lauded as one of the great modern writers. However, there has never been a clear picture of the woman behind the books.
The triangular relationship between Highsmith's lesbianism, her fraught personality - by parts self-destructive and malicious - and her fiction has been largely avoided by other biographers. She was openly lesbian and would, in modern times, be venerated as a radical exponent of an LGBT lifestyle. However, her status as an exemplar of gay radicalism is undermined by the incontrovertible fact that she was gratuitously cruel and exploitative of her lovers.
In this new biography, Richard Bradford brings his sharp, incisive style to one of the great, and most controversial, writers of the twentieth century. He considers Highsmith's best-sellers in the context of her troubled personal life; her alcoholism, her anti-Semitism and her misogyny.