Edith's Diary

Edith's Diary

by Patricia Highsmith

As Edith Howland's life becomes harsh, her diary entries only become brighter and brighter.

She invents a happy life.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Fiction
  • Rating: 3.80
  • Pages: 317
  • Publish Date: January 18th 1994 by Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Isbn10: 0871132966
  • Isbn13: 9780871132963

What People Think about "Edith's Diary"

Come in Il grido della civetta, uscito qualche anno prima, i protagonisti lasciano la Grande Mela per trasferirsi in un paesino della Pennsylvania dove contano di avere una vita migliore: Edith, il marito giornalista, col quale progettano di avviare un giornale una volta sistemati in provincia, e il figlio di dieci anni, che va male a scuola e ha problemi di comportamento (la notte prima della partenza da New York tenta di uccidere il gatto di casa). Una casa più grande, col giardino, dove vivere più sani e più felici tutti e tre, una scuola migliore per il figlio, un lavoro più soddisfacente... Come se non bastasse, a vivere con loro si è anche trasferito un vecchio zio del marito, malato e avaro: Edith rimane sola, non si ribella e continua a occuparsi di lui. Highsmith era molto scontenta del film: per esempio, giudicava una stronzata edipica il cambiamento che rendeva il figlio innamorato della madre, aspetto del tutto assente nel romanzo.

Not only was this story of the suburban dream more of a nightmare, but Highsmith's detailed character description made the characters come to life more than I cared for. But soon the suburban dream falls apart as the model family shows cracks: Edith's son, Cliffie, is a despicable little horror (he tries to kill the cat a couple of times and that is just the start). What makes the book truly miserable is the way that Edith's cracking up is dealt with by the people around her, and so her keeping a diary, where she records a fantasy of a perfect life she imagines, becomes the symbol of her madness, her rebellion, as well as of the way society hides what is perceived as the imperfect, the damaged.

I felt so close to the protagonist that, although I kept Highsmith's books at the time, after a while I had to make this one leave home.

Mas não, apenas um final sem qualquer brilho, sem surpresas, banal. Não tenciono ler mais nada da Patricia Highsmith, nem posso recomendar a ninguém... I didn't like the characters (with the possible exception of Melanie) nor did I feel they were well defined - or maybe I just didn't understand the author's writing... Meanwhile I remembered that I hadn't like the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley, mainly because of the story, which is precisely of this author...

I must start by saying that reading Patricia Highsmith is always an experience. Theres nothing straightforward or perhaps there is nothing but straightforwardness and we are simply not taught to recognize it as such about Highsmiths novels, and yet theres something even more particular about Ediths Diary. Its an old Victorian house and the steps creak as you climb your way up. That is how I would describe reading Ediths Diary, but it somehow feels as if you are both the one left waiting and the approaching hosts.

I read and enjoyed a couple of Patricia Highsmith'sThe Talented Mr Ripleybooks quite some years ago, and it has taken me until almost a decade later to seek out more of her rather large oeuvre. Edith's Diary, a psychological crime story,was the first full-length novel not featuring Mr Ripley which I chose to read. her strongest, her most imaginative and by far her most substantial novel.' Writer A.N. Wilson says: 'Edith's Diaryis certainly one of the saddest novels I ever read, but it is also one of the mere twenty or so that I would say were perfect, unimprovable masterpieces.' In her introduction, Mina notes: 'Regardless of genre or form, it is touching on truth that gives writing well weight and profundity. Truth not only makes fiction more believable, it is what makes reading potentially life-changing.' At the beginning of the novel, protagonist Edith Howland is moving from her New York apartment to a house in the suburbs in Brunswick, Pennsylvania, with her husband Brett and ten-year-old son Cliffie. The novel begins in 1955, and spans many years. She begins to record untruths in her diary, which is almost like a character in its own right in the novel. The novel has definitely left me eager to read more of Highsmith's work.

This is a great book in the same way The Bell Jar is: Amazing, but would you really recommend it to a friend?

Her ex-husband not only left her, but also left his aging, invalid uncle in Edith's care.

Patricia Highsmith was an American novelist who is known mainly for her psychological crime thrillers which have led to more than two dozen film adaptations over the years. She lived with her grandmother, mother and later step-father (her mother divorced her natural father six months before 'Patsy' was born and married Stanley Highsmith) in Fort Worth before moving with her parents to New York in 1927 but returned to live with her grandmother for a year in 1933. She also wrote one novel, non-mystery, under the name Claire Morgan, plus a work of non-fiction 'Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction' and a co-written book of children's verse, 'Miranda the Panda Is on the Veranda'.