in keeping with how creepy patricia highsmith is, i could've sworn i'd already written a review of this book, and yet i can find nothing now to indicate that i had. well, i'll copy this into a word file, and if it disappears again, i'll imagine highsmith'll have sent her slugs to expunge my words, because even dead, i think highsmith is capable of doing such a creepy thing. i think it is true that while she was living, through her writing, she constantly held up a mirror to the face of humanity that showed all its ugliness, and the most effective of her stories underscore how bloodless and blind, how very selfish humanity can be.
in this collection, i think excellent expressions of the baseness of human experience highsmith observed are found in "something the cat dragged in", "not one of us", "under a dark angel's eye", and especially "the dream of the emma c
" which made me yearn for the impossible to explain the cruelty of humanity at its most mundane. stories that also communicated some empathy are "i despise your life" and "the kite" which almost seems in bleak answer to salinger's "teddy".
highsmith never fails to shock me with her talent for humanity, of shaking it out, and reminding us that our finer instincts are touted because they are so rare, that empathy isn't always intrinsic in every human heart, and that we cannot rely on kindness in this life.