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The Cry of the Owl

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,117 Ratings  ·  120 Reviews
This "extraordinary story" (Julian Symons) begins with an act of naive voyeurism. Robert Forester, a depressed but fundamentally decent man, liked to watch Jenny through her kitchen window, a harmless palliative, as he saw it, to his lonely life and failed marriage. As he is drawn into her life, however, the recriminations of his simple pleasure shatter the deceptive calm ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published January 18th 1994 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published 1962)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,131)
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Dan Schwent
Dec 22, 2014 Dan Schwent rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
When a girl living in an isolated house spurns her fiancee for the peeping Tom that's been spying on her, things quickly circle the drain, lives destroyed in a maelstrom of hatred, jealousy, lies, and death...

I read The Talented Mr. Ripley in the fairly recent past and have been on the lookout for more of Patricia Highsmith and her twisted protagonists ever since. This one was only $1.99 on the kindle.

Robert Forrester is a soon-to-be divorced man working at an engineering firm in a small town wh
Jan 19, 2016 BrokenTune rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"She had called him up to give him a piece of her mind, Robert supposed, and what surprised him more than anything was that she could be so voluble, so sure of herself, while addressing someone she considered a murderer. Weren’t people supposed to be afraid of murderers? If she really believed him a murderer, wouldn’t she be afraid he might get angry and come after her, too?"

It appears that this January has been the month of reading gloriously messed up books and it all started with The Cry of t
Jody  Julian
Reading Patricia Highsmith is my drug of choice lately. I just can’t get enough of her writing. Once again, she creates a creepy character that somehow the reader accepts and even roots for. Robert Forester finds comfort in watching a stranger, Jenny, nearly every night. He's a ‘peeping tom’. Sounds scary doesn’t it? Yet, he comes off as harmless and almost endearing in his bizarre need to find solace in watching Jenny. It’s not a sexual thing but rather he watches her cook and just go about her ...more
Maria João Fernandes
"As pessoas que espreitavam pelas janelas de outras eram anormais - quer observassem mulheres a despir-se, quer elas estivessem apenas a fritar frango."

Como sempre, as personagens de Patricia Highsmith são emocionalmente instáveis e dotadas de personalidades danificadas, delineadas por experiências de vida pouco comuns. Numa atmosfera desagradável e pouco confortável, o pequeno grupo de personagens interage entre si e estabelece relações perigosas e obsessivas. Por um lado, temos duas mulheres d
Lee Foust
Mar 25, 2014 Lee Foust rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A surprisingly existentially bleak and super-deliberately paced little thriller. For most of it I felt that the thriller format (in this case the classic man-falsely-accused-of-a crime or perhaps framed-for-a-crime plot) was a MacGuffin conceling and revealing (at the same time) the theme of the difficulty of carrying on a love affair in a social world--how the relations between a man and a woman are always mediated, even ruined, buy the meddling, interpretations, fears, and disapproval of those ...more
Nov 26, 2015 Lesley rated it really liked it
intense and chilling! (though I still like the talented Mr. Ripley better)
Brian Poole
Apr 10, 2015 Brian Poole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Cry of the Owl is a classic of bleak, psychological despair and suspense.

Patricia Highsmith’s 1962 novel fits the late writer’s mold quite effectively, a portrait of how the main characters’ poor judgment and bad choices ruin their lives. When The Cry of the Owl opens, 30ish Robert Forrester has taken refuge in a small town engineering job. Robert’s fled the collapse of his New York marriage to the poisonous, unstable Nickie. Who taunts him long distance, for no reason other than to be a bit
Hakan Yaman

Klasik bir üçgen: Bir kadın, iki erkek: Jenny, Greg ve Robert…
Patricia Highsmith, bu bildik, basit üçgenden polisiye tadında, muhteşem bir roman çıkarmış. Jenny’nin evlenmek üzere olduğu erkek arkadaşı Greg’le yaşadığı evi uzaktan izleyen, zaman zaman evin bahçesine girip, ağaçların arasından onları gözetleyen, röntgenci Robert, bir anda kendisini sahnenin ortasında buluyor. Kısa sürede roller değişiyor; Jenny ile tanışınca Greg’in rolünü Robert alıyor. Bu kez dışarıda kalan Greg oluyor. İşte a
Nelson Ramirez
Libro entretenido que se deja leer y te pone en tensión y con impotencia debido a las situaciones por las que tiene que pasar el protagonista, pero se me hizo lenta la acción, la mitad del libro es tediosa y el final no me gusto en absoluto, me dejo inconforme.
Jan 04, 2015 Kasey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Patricia Highsmith is deceptively simple. She uses virtually no words that an average fourth-grade reader couldn't understand, and for the first maybe fifty pages, I can persist in the delusion that she is writing a shallow story, an adult version of a Dick and Jane reader. And then thing turn DARK, and the darkness belongs not to one character (even to Ripley), but to everyone, to the world that these characters inhabit. And there is no out, no relief. I think maybe we're mistaken to read her a ...more
Aug 03, 2015 Carla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La tristeza que sentí al haber terminado este libro fue inconmensurable, digamos que no quería terminarlo para nada. No quería porque hacía mucho que no me enganchaba a ese nivel con un texto. Por suerte en casa encontré otros tres libros de Patricia Highsmith y pienso ir a por más. Su escritura es ágil y a la vez profunda. El desarrollo de los personajes no tiene sin igual.
La historia trata sobre un hombre que comienza a espiar a una mujer por el simple hecho de que está deprimido y le gusta ve
Jan 16, 2015 John rated it it was amazing
I first encountered the work of Patricia Highsmith, in the shape of the novel The Glass Cell, when I was in my mid-teens. I got perhaps fifty pages into the book, loathing every moment of it. A few years later I tried one of her Ripley novels (Ripley Under Ground, I think); this time, though abhorring the central character and the whole ethos of the book, I did manage to grind my way through to the end. Twice bitten, I thereafter remained permanently shy of Highsmith . . . which is strange for s ...more
Jan 19, 2010 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I seriously couldn't put this down, it's so tense and creepy and ominous and wonderful. I picked it up more or less out of the blue, because I hadn't actually read any Highsmith before and because she keeps coming up in conversation.

Little did I know that it was currently being turned into a movie starring Julia freaking Stiles.
Mar 14, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Patricia Highsmith's intriguing tale of obsession, starring John Sharian.
Rachel Stevenson
I don't know how Patricia Highsmith got away with it, writing such nasty novels in a time of American optimism and sunny consumerism. The only people allowed to rebel in the '50s and early '60s were young and male and she was neither. As the protagonist of her novel, Robert, asks: “What's underneath? Chaos and nothingness? Evil pessimism and depression?” Highsmith is always interested in what lies beneath the American dream.

In this book, a recently divorced New Yorker moves to Pennsylvania and s
Geoff Sebesta
Sep 29, 2011 Geoff Sebesta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the opposite of a book you can't put down. This is a book that you have to put down over and over again, because you're so horrified by what is happening to these characters who you care about so deeply that you just have to look away.

I find myself in the same fix as the person who wrote the back-cover blurb, in that I can't describe the novel without giving away an absolutely priceless surprise. I mean a great moment, one of those "great novel" moments, that comes almost immediately in
Feb 18, 2013 Pascale rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The conceit of the stalker stalked is what attracted me to this book. Because he finds the spectacle of her apparent happiness and innocence soothing, Robert entertains harmless fantasies about a young woman whom he observes going about her evening routines. But as soon as she becomes aware of his presence in her backyard, Jenny pretty much forces Robert to take centre stage in her life, with devastating consequences. An ingenious plot, but the writing is middling. I know it's been used as a bas ...more
Michael Martin
Sep 13, 2013 Michael Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This creepy psychological thriller by Patricia Highsmith, the somewhat demented author of "The Talented Mr. Ripley", is a great read. It centers around the skewed relationship between a peeping Tom, the woman he spies on, and her jealous boyfriend. No one acts in an expected manner, and so many surprises abound that I really don't want to spoil the novel by giving anything away. Terrific, fun, quirky, and very fitting from the mind of one of literature's greatest oddballs. (It shouldn't surprise ...more
Trixie Fontaine
Maybe this isn't the greatest book, but I loved it & was sad to see it over. I mean somewhat relieved, but then I was left without another book Just Like It to read right away.

I may have loved this book more than your average person because the voyeurism -- and the special slant on it -- and other themes are personal favorites of mine that I feel instantly connected to. The outsider thing, the desire to preserve a fantasy of happiness . . . to be happier keeping their distance, being alone.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 08, 2012 Irukina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aunque reconozco que no he leído mucha novela negra, creo que esta es bastante atípica y, por ello, muy interesante. Sin haber un caso típico, o una trama de misterio al uso, los personajes y sus circunstancias te atrapan hasta el final. Me han gustado mucho mucho los personajes, bien trazados, definidos, con matices y, al tiempo, enigmáticos.
Pero lo mejor sin duda el final. No es un final que resuelve nada pero está lleno de simbolismo y, en mi opinión, le da sentido a toda la novela.
Sean Wicks
Jun 07, 2015 Sean Wicks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beth Gordon
Feb 02, 2015 Beth Gordon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

Robert, recently divorced and lonely, decides to trespass on youthful Jenny's property and watch her through her first-floor window. Not a terribly bright decision, but Robert is more lonely than creepy, at least how Highsmith writes him. Robert notes youthful Jenny has a suitor (Greg) that visits her frequently, and it's likely that the match will lead to marriage.

Jenny discovers Robert spying on her. In an unusual twist, she finds him intriguing and ditches Greg for Robert. Here is wh
Sandra Barron
I think I just discovered the idea seed for Gillian Flynn's GONE GIRL! Flynn cites Highsmith as her greatest aesthetic mentor. So here we have the same premise, structurally. I think that Flynn took "Owl" and mixed it with the Pederson case, added imagination, and voila! she created a vastly improved, almost unrecognizable version. I'm a huge fan of Ripley, I was predisposed to like anything by Highsmith but Owl was not as meticulously plotted and not as literary as Ripley. The writing felt slop ...more
Bruce Beckham
Dec 29, 2015 Bruce Beckham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For me another enjoyable suspense novel from Patricia Highsmith - a fascinating psychological study of a guy who seems bent on framing himself for murders he did not commit.

Again the author plays her joker - to induce you to side with a protagonist about whom from the outset you ought to have grave concerns (he meets his new 'girlfriend' following a series of peeping tom episodes at her isolated house).

As usual, there is no cozy ending, and certainly no real resolution - I see that it was made i
Feb 03, 2015 Lynn rated it liked it
Great writing but not my favorite book by Highsmith. I thought the main character was too passive to be believable. I was sympathetic and involved with his spiraling situation, but he just let things happen. Odd, but maybe there really are people this powerless. Great sense of menace.
Sara Steger
Dec 12, 2015 Sara Steger rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Heart palpitations come with this book. It makes a slow start, but by midway you are feeling the desperation and injustice as though it is happening to you. A very unexpected ending that is typical of Highsmith.
Jen Marchain
May 15, 2014 Jen Marchain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I new literary love! I first heard of Patricia from doing research on writers who have had their stories made into either Twilight Zone episodes or Alfred Hitchcock episodes. I came upon Strangers on a Train and decided to check it out at the library. When I got there though I looked through all her books and decided to start with The Cry of the Owl. It just caught my eye. Instantly I fell for her writing. There is something similar to her style and energy of the late Shirley Jackson (also a lit ...more
Robert Forester didn't look like the kind of man to be a prowler. His ex-wife had told the police he was erratic, liable to violence, had even fired a gun at her. Maybe he was a psychopathic murderer...

A quick, easily read, psychological thriller. Robert is accused of killing a man, but Robert is sure he didn't and the man is still very much alive. When Robert's girlfriend commits suicide, he is certain the dead man is shooti
Apr 11, 2014 Kenneth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Forester, in the midst of a messy divorce, finds solace by prowling outside a young woman's house, spying on her as she cooks & cleans. There is nothing sexual about his peeping; rather, it is a way for him to vicariously experience a degree of "normality" that is absent in his life. And if you think you can guess where this story is headed -- trust me, you can't. There are twists upon twists, unforeseen but completely believable. Suffice it to say that blood will be spilled before th ...more
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SOBRE EL FINAL 1 1 Oct 27, 2015 12:31PM  
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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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