Beautiful Shadow by Andrew Wilson
A Life of Patricia Highsmith (Bloomsbury Lives of Women)

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Synopsis

The life of Patricia Highsmith was as secretive and unusual as that of many of the best-known characters who people her "peerlessly disturbing" thrillers and short stories. Yet even as her work has found new popularity in the last few years, the life of this famously elusive writer has remained a mystery.

For Beautiful Shadow, the first biography of Highsmith, British journalist Andrew Wilson mined the vast archive of diaries, notebooks, and letters she left behind, astonishing in their candor and detail. He interviewed her closest friends and colleagues as well as some of her many lovers. But Wilson also traces Highsmith's literary roots in the work of Poe, noir, and existentialism, locating the influences that helped distinguish Highsmith's writing so startlingly from more ordinary thrillers. The result is both a serious critical biography and one that reveals much about a brilliant and contradictory woman, one who despite her acclaim and affairs always maintained her solitude.
 

About Andrew Wilson

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Andrew Wilson is the author of Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith; Harold Robbins: The Man Who Invented Sex; and the novel The Lying Tongue. He has written for The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, and the Daily Mail. He lives in London.
 
Published July 15, 2003 by Bloomsbury USA. 534 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Beautiful Shadow

Kirkus Reviews

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British journalist Wilson uses Highsmith’s diaries, notebooks, letters, and interviews to catch (in her own words) her “moods, fits, and daily activities.” Perhaps best known for Strangers on a Train and her Ripley novels, Highsmith (1921–95) was never easy on her readers, says Wilson.

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The Guardian

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Beautiful Shadow: Life of Patricia Highsmith by Andrew Wilson Bloomsbury £25, pp544 She thought that kissing a man was like 'falling into a bucket of oysters'.

Jun 15 2003 | Read Full Review of Beautiful Shadow: A Life of P...

Publishers Weekly

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While British journalist Wilson's portrait of Highsmith (1921–1995) is neither graceful nor fluid, it is as haunting and as chilling as the stories and novels Highsmith crafted over more than 50 productive years.

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Entertainment Weekly

Wilson doesn't stint on the Grand Guignol details of her life -- the secret language in which she spoke to her cats, or the fact that in middle age, her booze-seamed countenance caused waiters to mistake her for a man.

Jul 11 2003 | Read Full Review of Beautiful Shadow: A Life of P...

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