Patricia Highsmith’s Diaries Reveal the Complicated Woman Behind ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’

“Ought to love to do a novel,” wrote 20-year-old Patricia Highsmith in 1941. “One thing sensible after all.” 9 years later she’d publish her first, Strangers on a Prepare, with The Proficient Mr. Ripley and almost two dozen extra to comply with. Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks, out from Liveright and compiled by Highsmith’s longtime editor Anna von Planta, offers gorgeous entry to the thoughts of a notoriously secretive creator. In youth, Highsmith juggled events and mercurial amorous affairs (“I nearly kissed her once we left however not fairly”) with a need for literary greatness. “Acquired excellent work carried out,” she wrote at age 22, “regardless that my hair was flat.” She befriended Truman Capote and Jane and Paul Bowles, lauded her pet snails, and eulogized her cat with a poem.

Purchase Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks on Amazon or Bookshop. Proper: Considered one of 18 diaries and 38 notebooks found after Highsmith’s loss of life in 1995.


Urge for food for Highsmith’s psychological acuity and misanthropic characters is on the rise. Diversifications of Ripley (TV) and Deep Water (movie) are forthcoming within the wake of previous display screen ventures, together with the critically beloved 2015 film Carol, based mostly on Highsmith’s iconic lesbian pulp novel, The Value of Salt, and the 1999 Ripley film starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Legislation, and Cate Blanchett—iconic in its personal proper.

And but followers of the creator must reckon with what her diaries current: As she aged, Highsmith turned more and more cantankerous, racist, and anti-Semitic; the intimacy of this assortment makes these views, after they come up, notably upsetting. It’s not dissimilar to the creeping discomfit of studying a Highsmith novel, as one is consistently reminded that regardless of the wit and magnificence, you’re nonetheless rooting for a assassin.

Additional Adventures in Private Narrative

Illustrative quotes from six new books by a hoops star, a filmmaker, an artist, and extra.

“Dude. We each know you generally tend to get hangry, so let’s discuss in regards to the culinary state of affairs on the White Home. You’re not in Hollywood anymore.”
Essays and tales, from Gallery Books

“In a means, overexposing myself has all the time felt just like the most secure choice. Strip your self bare so it looks as if nobody else can strip you down; cover nothing, in order that nobody can use your secrets and techniques to harm you.”
Essays, from Metropolitan Books

“Once we have been making She’s Gotta Have It, we have been all saving empty soda cans and bottles to show in for nickels. That’s how we received cash to purchase movie.”
Monograph, with images by David Lee, from Chronicle Chroma

“I feel that I performed a big half within the rediscovery of a form of late mid-twentieth-century hedonistic glamour, and I melded that with modern style.”
Monograph, from Rizzoli

“Parsons was like an costly kindergarten, primly cajoling a bunch of wayward children into behaving correctly. However the time I spent there was necessary.”
Memoir, from Crown

“If we’re not making an attempt to empower the subsequent era then no matter we got down to do is pointless.”
Memoir, with images by Bob Metelus, from William Morrow

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