The diaries of Patricia Highsmith (author of many books, including Strangers on a Train, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and The Price of Salt, the basis for the movie Carol) are being released by her estate, for publication in a book.
The diaries, which Liveright Publishing plans to release in the United States in 2021 as a single book, offer a glimpse into the life of a literary figure whose sharply observed psychological thrillers, including â€œStrangers on a Trainâ€ and â€œThe Talented Mr. Ripley,â€ became cultural touchstones. She was a secretive, often prickly woman who remained a cipher even to her friends and lovers, and a trailblazer who wrote one of the first mainstream novels depicting two women in love. But she could be blinded by her own bigotry and espoused racist and anti-Semitic views.
Scholars have long known about the diary entries, but they have not previously been available to the public. Spanning nearly 60 years, the entries reveal new facets of Highsmithâ€™s life. They catalog her thoughts on such subjects as good and evil, loneliness and intimacy, and love and murder, which she saw as intertwined: â€œMurder is a kind of making love, a kind of possessing,â€ she wrote in 1950….
The diaries were discovered after Highsmithâ€™s death in 1995, tucked away behind sheets and towels in a linen closet in her home in Ticino, Switzerland. The 56 spiral-bound notebooks, totaling some 8,000 pages, were found by her longtime editor, Anna von Planta, and Daniel Keel, the executor of Highsmithâ€™s will and the literary executor of her estate.