Eric_W's Reviews > Those Who Walk Away

Those Who Walk Away by Patricia Highsmith
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Mar 22, 10

bookshelves: mysteries-and-thrillers
Read in March, 2010

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 on Ray's life. Ray survives each attempt and follows Ed Coleman, in an attempt to seek forgiveness, only to be dragged back to reality.

The book has the same dream-like (nightmarish?) quality made famous by Highsmith's Ripley series. Ray and Ed both live in a world of opaque amorality. The settings (mostly Venice) are well-described and we see into the minds of both men as Highsmith switches back and forth between the two perspectives. Not your usual thriller.

Having read the Ripley series I kept "assuming" that Ray had had a hand in his wife's suicide. No one is innocent in her novels, nor does the the question of what is "right" ever come up. Self-interest is paramount. All actions are judged from that perspective.
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