Friday, June 05, 2020
FFB-Strangers on a Train, Patricia Highsmith
Patricia Highsmith was 29 when this, her first novel, was published. It's hard to believe it's a first novel because not only is it polished it also has the misanthropic outlook of a older, more jaundiced, writer. I listened to this book through fm libro where the profits go to a local bookstore of your choosing. It was read by Bronson Pinchot who did a great job.
I'm sure you know the plot from the Hitchcock movie if not the novel. Two men meet on a train. One is the spoiled son of rich parents, the other is an up and coming architect (in the movie he's a tennis player). The spoiled son, Bruno, gradually gets the architect, Guy, to confess he's in a loveless marriage and eager to be rid of the woman who is recently pregnant by another man. Bruno introduces the idea that they should each murder the person standing in the way of other man's path to happiness. (Bruno has a father he can't abide and who sees through his son's profligate ways).
Guy basically forgets the man and his idea until his wife is murdered at an amusement park. Then the game is on and he must either shake off Bruno, eager to have his part of the bargain met somehow or murder his father.
After finishing the book, I watched the movie. Each had certain strengths. This was one of Hitchcock's best films. It's much more fast- paced than the book and he uses so many interesting techniques to fill you with dread. Making Guy a tennis player provides for one of the best scenes too. However the book looks into each man's psychological makeup more fully. Both mediums are very good and worth investigating. Robert Walker, in particular, makes a perfect Bruno. He died not long after this film from a bad reaction to a drug. He was 31.