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Those Who Walk Away

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  440 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
The honeymoon is over, as they say, the bride dead by her own hand. Ray Garrett, the grieving husband, convinces the police in Rome of his innocence, but not his thuggish father-in-law, an American painter named Ed Coleman, who shoots him at point-blank range and leaves him for dead. Ray survives, however, and follows Coleman to Venice, where the two fall into an eerie gam ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published January 18th 1994 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published 1967)
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Books Set in Venice
110th out of 220 books — 183 voters
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Best of Patricia Highsmith
16th out of 81 books — 4 voters

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Community Reviews

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This was a fine way to while away some sick time, but I would not say it was her best. Fortunately a less than superior offering by Highsmith is so very much better than most people's pinnacle of achievement. I found myself unconvinced by the motivation/character of Ray, the main character, or Coleman's, his adversary. Not once did either of them - or anybody in the story - feel real to me.

Rest here.

Jun 23, 2015 Daniela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A game of cat-and mouse set in Venice between Edward Coleman, whose daughter has just committed suicide, and her husband Rayburn Garrett, which Coleman blames for his daughters death.

There are several murder attempts, shots in the dark, chases in the narrow streets of Venice, many expensive Italian restaurants being mentioned, a lot of cappuccino being drunk, and a handful of bored Americans too rich for their own good.

While the plot is okay, the motivations of the characters were unconvincing.
Maria João Fernandes
"Talvez a identidade, como o inferno, estivesse somente nos outros."

É muito difícil atribuir um género literário às obras da Patricia Highsmith, porque a autora vai além dos géneros conhecidos e estabelece as suas próprias regras. Não é mistério ou suspense. Não se foca no crime ou nas relações humanas. Patricia Highsmith é mistério, suspense, acção, drama e romance. Foca-se no crime, na arte, na rotina, nas relações e na mente humana. A autora é, toda ela, um pequeno mundo de infinita sabedoria
Mar 22, 2010 Eric_W rated it really liked it
Another classic in the same vein as Highsmith's Ripley series. The setting is Venice during the winter. It's dreary. Ray, whose wife committed suicide some weeks before, has followed his father-in-law, Ed Coleman, from Rome where Ed tried to shoot him. Ed thinks his son-in-law didn't do enough to prevent the suicide. There follows a bizarre pas-de-deux between the two as each circles the other, Ed, distraught over the death of his daughter, and Ray trying to make amends. Ed makes other attempts ...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
What an odd book. My first by Highsmith. A sort of folie a deux, mainly set in Venice. A dead woman's father blames the husband and makes multiple murder attempts. Weirdo hubbie not only does not report these but follows pa-in-law from Rome to Venice and then hides from everyone after the second attempt, stalking p-i-l. Surfaces again after the 3rd murder attempt results in the worm turning and p-i-l getting what for at which point the latter in his own turn hides out. Severe WTFness. Hubby trac ...more
Lee Foust
Feb 11, 2015 Lee Foust rated it liked it
A plea for or study of pacifism, forgiveness, and passive resistance against self-justified, proactive revenge is kind of the last thing I would have expected from Patricia Highsmith or the crime genre in general but, well, here it is. Loved the way Venice functions here as a symbolic re-enactment of the twists and turns of the two protagonists' mental mazes of motivations and acts as well as the shifting POV to show their motivations and misapprehensions of each other--really perfect use of set ...more
Aug 06, 2012 Andy rated it really liked it
Dark, deadpan satire on the insanity of in-laws, “Those Who Walk Away” is the tale of an unforgiving bully chasing his son-in-law around beautiful, romantic Venice with the sole purpose of avenging his flaky daughter’s suicide. Because he holds the son-in–law responsible, numerous murder attempts are committed throughout the novel, the most absurd one being pushing his prey off a gondola into the Venice Canal in the middle of the night. I kept waiting for the next manic murder attempt to happen ...more
Elinor Perry-Smith
Jul 05, 2016 Elinor Perry-Smith rated it it was amazing
I've always loved Highsmith's forensic way with her prose. She gets right into the heads of her flawed characters, but, bizarrely, eschews judgment in favour of examination of their motives. That was true of Ripley and it's true of her protagonists in this book. Ray Garrett's young wife Peggy kills herself. Her father Ed Coleman holds his son-in-law very much to blame. The two men seem bound by mutual loathing as they hunt or avoid each other through the streets and canals of Venice, inevitably ...more
Mar 07, 2015 Alikokinav rated it liked it
This book left me with mixed feelings. On one hand, it was an extremely well written book with a good plot and a well-written cast. However, the motives behind the main character left me puzzled.

The book is about the father an husband of a woman who committed suicide. Both these men start a cat and mouse game as the father tries to kill the husband because he blames him for his daughter's death.


That part that annoyed me was that the husband keeps going in search of the father in law a
Nov 18, 2015 Deanne rated it really liked it
Shelves: crimethriller
cracking read of a cat and mouse variety set in Venice. After the death of his wife Ray tries to talk to her father, but Coleman who idolises his daughter just wants Ray to die, and he's willing to help him.
David Lowther
Sep 22, 2016 David Lowther rated it liked it
In a way Those Who Walk Away is typical Patricia Highsmith novel - very strong on character and location with a slowish narrative. Exceptions to this are obviously Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr Ripley, both of which are classics.

The other Ripley novels are rather like Those Who Walk Away with plots that feel a tiny bit inconsequential but all share one thing; they keep you reading because you're keen to know what happens in the end.

David Lowther. author of The Blue Pencil, Liberating
Lee Foust
(Another one of my columns for Florence News and Events an English-language newspaper published here in Renaissance Disneyland featuring this novel and some short stories.)

The Dark Side of Venice

Even the most casual tourist senses, beneath the romantic lapping of the waves against the bridges and landings along its canals, that there’s something deathly about Venice. Is it because most mythologies locate the land of the dead across a body of water? Or maybe because Venice’s narrow, ill-lit passa
Apr 26, 2015 Lynda rated it liked it
I have given this three as although it has many of the ingredients of Highsmith's best books it is not vintage. In the superbly realised ambivalent city of Venice two traumatised men play an intense and dangerous game with each other in which each move throughout the novel from victim to persecutor. The kindness and simple hospitality of the Italien characters towards the Americans is in stark contrast to the gossip and suspicion embodied by the Americans, even the police seem generous and forgi ...more
Gordon Howard
Oct 16, 2009 Gordon Howard rated it it was amazing
An awesome book. It's hard to put Patricia Highsmith's fiction into any category - mystery, suspense, don't quite fit. Since one of her first books, Strangers on a Train, was made into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock (and it's one of his best movies), perhaps "Hitchockian" might be the best adjective to describe her writing.

The book consists of a cat and mouse game played by two men in Venice. The twists and turns of the story are quite gripping. Most interesting is the psychology of the two men, wh
Radford Secondary Library
Ray Garrett is recently bereaved after his beloved wife commits suicide. But Ed Coleman, his wife's doting father, is determined to get to the bottom of her mysterious death. Against the compelling but sinister backdrop of Venice in winter, Garrett and Coleman are caught up in a deadly cat-and-mouse game shot through with vengeance and suspicion. As they switch between the roles of hunter and hunted, this tense psychological novel races towards a thrilling climax.
Shane Strauss
Sep 01, 2015 Shane Strauss rated it liked it
I had to read this for a fiction class for the sake of the psychological narrative. It was not a very interesting read, but it did include the techniques of "slice of life", "suspended confirmation" (something like that I don't completely recall), and abundant indirect discourse. These weren't exactly well done but made it a bit more bearable. If you want some perpetual confusion and slight suspense while reading, this book may cut it.
Christian Huber
Sep 20, 2016 Christian Huber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this Highsmith thriller, which was a little different, but still full of her usual syntax and eloquence. I also enjoy background in Venice, Italy, and love her descriptions of the place. The cat and mouse chase between the two main characters there was riveting. This piece reminded me in bits of her other masterpiece, The Talented Mr. Ripley. Thoroughly engaging and at most times, a page turner!
Jul 06, 2015 Cheryl rated it it was ok
I found all of the characters a little boring and not very complex. The "cat and mouse game" promised by the blurbs between the two main characters felt a little more like two people trading punches for no real driving reason for continuing to do. Even the descriptions of by-gone Italy felt a little stale and not up to the normal Highsmith standard. 2.5 stars.
Oct 08, 2009 Rochelle rated it it was amazing
I consider Patricia Highsmith at her best one of the US' twentieth century outstanding fiction writers and this cat-and-mouse novel is one of her best. If you like Donna Leon's mysteries set in Venice, you're pre-adapted to following Highsmith's two main characters through the Venetian maze. Although toward the end the author presents Venetian family life with as much warmth as Leon does, most of Highsmith's writing is more surgical than Leon's. Highsmith's knack for depicting wealthy Americans ...more
John Sargent
May 29, 2015 John Sargent rated it really liked it
It's hard to get any better than Highsmith. This is one of the best of her's that I've read in a long time. Smart prose and plot with good characters
Gary Kittle
In many respects what you would expect from a Highsmith thriller. I would not describe it as formulaic, but there does seem to be a lack of enthusiasm from the author. So yes it ticks all the boxes, but there was a sense of the author ticking them off as the chapters stacked up. Still enjoyed it, though.
Dec 28, 2015 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Had moments of brilliant black comedy, but overall middling for Highsmith. Rather ambling and slack on the expected suspense.
The whole letting the main characters father in law attempt to kill him multiple times with no justification or characterisation as to why this was happening was highly frustration. I fully understand the murderous impulses.
Feb 17, 2008 Tosh rated it it was amazing
Patricia Highsmith is one of the greats of the 20th Century. This novel is about grieving over a daughter/wife with acts of violence and hatred. One of the amazing things about Highsmith's work is how she gets under the skin of her main characters. Often imitated, but no one has mastered her 'cool' skill in getting these people down on paper. The closest comparison I can think of is Patrick Hamilton. But he's very British and most of his stories take place in London. Highsmith is all over Europe ...more
Sep 28, 2016 Nick rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
The good writing we expect from Highsmith, with a good build up in suspense against a Venice setting, but ultimately disappoints with a fizzled out ending.
Arjun Joshi
decent book. My first Patricia Highsmith. But not as exciting as I thought it would be. By the end I was skipping the narrative in order to get at the end.
Apr 08, 2014 Sketchbook rated it it was ok
The gondola sinks.
Nov 19, 2012 Anne rated it really liked it
This book is great. I don't usually read this genre however having loved Highsmith's 'Carol', I wanted to read more by her.

Highsmith adds so much detail to her stories yet nothing is superfluous. The tension builds up imperceptibly until you feel like your heart is somewhere in your throat and then it simply stays there!

The story is multi-layered and the characters are so well drawn. It took me to the last page to finally understand the title. A really enjoyable read!
Kate B
Jan 03, 2016 Kate B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mostly told from the point of view of a recently widowed young man, and later alternating with the POV of his father-in-law who blames the main protagonist for his daughter's suicide. Both are unreliable narrators; Highsmith captures well the 'mental fog,' caused by their grief, sadness and anger, that keeps them on their dysfunctional paths, circling each other through the twisting alleys and canals of Venice.
Carla Remy
Jun 18, 2011 Carla Remy rated it liked it
Disappointed. Once you get on to the secondary or tertiary Highsmith novels, well ... she seems to be writing the same book over and over. This one has all the hallmarks: two men, both painters, in an exotic Euro location (Venice, here), with themes of death, attempted murder and shifting identities. I'm not sure if it wasn't so great or it was just old hat. Still, love her.
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Goodreads Librari...: Cover Fix 2 12 May 23, 2015 01:01PM  
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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
More about Patricia Highsmith...

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