RE: RARA-AVIS: Patricia Highsmith biography

From: Todd Mason (
Date: 05 Aug 2003

That fits well with the account of Marijane Meaker, particularly of the latter-day PH (presumably Pennzler met her more toward her end), in her interview on FRESH AIR (the NPR interview show) pushing her memoir of her romantic and post-romantic life with Highsmith.

An interview very much worth listening to at its archive on
(some day, I'll be industrious enough to seek it all the way to the file...I dubbed the i/v on tape off the air).

I'll be picking up the Meaker...and if the Philadelphia Libraries weren't so famously broke right now, I might ask them to buy both. TM

-----Original Message----- From: Mario Taboada [mailto:]

Last Sunday's Washington Post Book World contains a review by Alice Turner of _Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith_ by Andrew Wilson. The review is probably still online.

According to the reviewer, this is a dispassionate biography that doesn't try to glorify its subject. Here is Otto Penzler on Patricia, as quoted in the book:

"There was an unredeemable ugliness to her. I never witnessed a kind thought, a kind word, a kind gesture in all the time we spent together."


"She was a totally horrible woman. She was mean, unkind, unfriendly and cold, and never missed an opportunity to be nasty."

I thought you would like to know. I'm going to get the library to buy it. Nasty or yes, Highsmith was one of the essential writers of dark suspense.

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