Join Lit Hub at Film Forum on Friday, September 2, at 8 p.m. ET, where we’ll be co-presenting a screening of the new film Loving Highsmith, an exploration of the infamous thriller writer’s life and oeuvre. CrimeReads associate editor Olivia Rutigliano will introduce the film and moderate a Q&A with filmmaker Eva Vitija. Get up to two discounted $11 tickets (regular $15) to the screening and first two weeks of showings by entering promo code LITHUB at checkout.
Film Forum will be selling Highsmith’s recently published diaries, Patricia Highsmith: Her Diaries and Notebooks: 1941-1995, as well as paperback editions of Strangers on a Train and The Price of Salt. Tune in as well for Highsmith on Screen, a sidebar series of Highsmith film adaptations.
Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995), not unlike her infamous protagonist, the charming and deadly Tom Ripley, led a double life. She assiduously hid her lesbianism from her family and reading public. Her psychological thrillers, rooted in obsessive love, grew from the complex, contradictory life of a child rejected by the mother she adored (“I am married to my mother / I shall never wed another” she wrote at age 19).
Eva Vitija’s tribute includes appearances by women who knew and loved her (“she had a staggering number of conquests”) and who testify to a driven personality whose private notebooks and diaries (found posthumously in a laundry closet) detail multitudinous turbulent affairs. Strangers on a Train, her first novel, became the Alfred Hitchcock classic. Her second, The Price of Salt (published pseudonymously in 1952), dared to give lesbian lovers a happy ending and was soundly rejected by publishers. Decades later, it was made into the Todd Haynes film Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.
Highsmith was a woman ahead of her time, who paid dearly for her audacity, and whose brilliant literary output belies her belief that “My life is a chronicle of unbelievable mistakes.”