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Little Tales of Misogyny

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  1,797 ratings  ·  219 reviews
Nowhere is Patricia Highsmith more edgy than in these mordantly hilarious sketches that make up Little Tales of Misogyny.

Here you'll meet seemingly familiar women with the power to destroy both themselves and the men around them. In these stories Highsmith is at her most scathing as she draws out the mystery and menace of her once ordinary subject.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published August 17th 2002 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 1975)
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Average rating 3.57  · 
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Richard
3.5 Stars
If Aesop was abused by a mean, alcoholic mother and then jilted and heartbroken by the true love of his life, I think he would have written this book of short tales rather than his famous fables. This is a collection of tiny stories written by famed psychological noir writer and alleged cynic, woman-hater, and misanthrope, Patricia Highsmith. Each story focuses on a different vixen that everyone loves to hate: golddiggers, prudes, whores, perfectionists, mother-in-laws, and even an
...more
Roman Clodia
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Little Tales of Misanthropy

If you ever feel out of sorts with the world (yes, the whole world) then this would be an ideal read. In what feel like cathartic vignettes which ditch any sense of PC-ness, Highsmith takes aim at people - for while her stories are titled after a female character role (The Coquette, The Victim, The Breeder, The Prude, The Perfectionist amongst others), men don't come off any better: being weak or bullies, or foolish or just plain mean.

In my favourite story called 'The
...more
Lotte
3.5/5. These were all really fun, twisted little stories or in some cases, vignettes (a few stories are only three pages long). Reading this entire collection in pretty much one sitting did get quite repetitive however, since most stories ended the exact same way. Also, not all stories seemed to be about misogyny specifically, some were more about misanthropy in general in my opinion. If you're a fan of the dark humour and subtle terror of Roald Dahl's or Shirley Jackson's shorter fiction and ...more
Deborah Markus
I was saving this collection for a rainy day, and yesterday – day 1 of a nasty, unexpected sinus infection – was exactly when I needed to read this weird little book. (I still have said blitzkrieg infection, so please don't expect too much from this review.)

This book is very short, as are the individual stories contained therein. As for the misogyny of the title, it puts me in mind of Virginia Woolf's ponderings in A Room Of One's Own when she was asked to speak about women and fiction. Does
...more
Toby
Oct 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit, short-stories
Seventeen short stories, seventeen different women, the same offence everytime - being a woman.

Patricia Highsmith, the famed hater of women, or so they say. The Talented Ms Highsmith, the poet of apprehension (thank you Graham Greene,) and creator of countless literary psychological thrillers.

In her novels she takes time, slowly building the suspense and the tension page by page but some of these stories are only two pages long, instead she utilises her skill in observing and dissecting human
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jan 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'd had this on my bookshelf for a few years and was looking for something light to read before bed. I finished it in a bubble bath, which seemed somehow appropriate. I'm not sure these are all that memorable, and I had that experience again of discomfort and admiration at Highsmith's writing all rolled into one. I can't decide if she's brilliant or frustrating, perhaps both.

Misogyny usually means the hatred or dislike of women, but in this case, Patricia Highsmith is writing short little
...more
Konstantin
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was left in a state of awe and admiration: these tales are filled with poignancy and tons of black humor, yet Highsmith manages to write in an envyingly formed and compulsive style. These vignettes were all sorts of things: political, over-the-top funny, misandric, misogynistic, ordinary, quiet, shocking...

So, for me, when a writer manages to write vignettes of similar lenght and style, yet evocate and present so many different voices, situations and ideologies, it is a clear sign of their
...more
G.
Nov 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young man asked a father for his daughter's hand, and received it in a box - her left hand.

I believe this tiny tome of short stories was supposed to be titled Little Tales for Misogynists originally, but it ended up being called Little Tales of Misogyny. Pretty self-explanatory either way, right? With stories titled as The Fully Licensed Whore, or, The Wife or The Mobile Bed-object, your friendly neighbourhood misogynist is guaranteed to enjoy this one. As for others, they might find these
...more
Nigeyb
Dec 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Little Tales of Misogyny is a curious little collection of somewhat macabre short stories. Distilled esssence of Patricia Highsmith if you will.

Is it a collection which encourages or condemns misogyny? Probably neither, and these stories are just examples of Patricia Highsmith's extremely dark humour.

In so far as there is a theme, it appears to be a criticism of suburbia, and a conventional life.

Little Tales of Misogyny is a very quick and easy read and, for those intrigued by Patricia
...more
tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE
Mar 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: literature
After all the Highsmith I've read, I shd've known better than to've expected "Little Tales of Misogyny" to've been tales in wch MEN are the misogynists.. But, NO, I didn't expect the author's viewpoint to be misogynistic! Fool!

All sorts of catchy critic words spring to mind: "sardonic", "wicked", "wry", whatnot. The female characters just can't win - whatever they are, they're too much in one direction & most of them die untimely deaths b/c of it - often thru murder. These stories are SHORT
...more
ArwendeLuhtiene
It's simply beyond me why a woman would want to write something like this, to be honest. I saw no social criticism, no proactive satirical lens, no misogyny portrayed in a critical way. It reads like pure misanthropic misogyny, a distasteful and acerbic range of nonchalant misogyny spewed across a whole range of sexist clichés, tropes and stereotyped models of women. Sexism that reads like 'I'm so cool and edgy and satirical for being a woman having a misogynistic go at women' and nothing near ...more
Gaby Silva
Apr 20, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So what is this book about, and what is it for...? It does what it "says on the tin": these are very short tales of misogyny. But they're not satirical, they're not pointing out the misogyny around us, they're not addressing the unfairness of double standards, they're not suggesting that women have richer lives that what misogyny confines them to.

They're just misogynistic.
They're tales of women - often nameless and devoid of personality, just "women" - who accuse men of rape for their financial
...more
M.J. Johnson
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Little Tales of Misogyny by Patricia Highsmith, a collection of vignettes, about the type of person it’s easy to dislike. These little fables, often very brief, take on a different character study e.g. The Victim, The Evangelist, The Mobile Bed-Object, The Prude, The Middle-Class Housewife etc. and each in turn is subjected to Highsmith’s unique, acerbic and archly wicked eye. A lot has been written about Highsmith’s misanthropic nature, even her friends seem to have found her difficult and ...more
Sara Habein
Aug 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Highsmith takes her spare writing style to an extreme here, presenting every character in a very matter of fact way. Even the descriptions are more like an inventory list. Here are the people, here is the situation, these are their things. In a way, that’s what makes the semi-satire work. Even though she became more cynical as she got older, I don’t buy the argument that she wrote these stories to be hateful towards women specifically, but rather that they’re her usual display of the awful ways ...more
Alexandra
Jan 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Arch little vignettes about the women you love to hate ("The Prude,"The Female Novelist," "The Breeder"). I liked Highsmith's dark humor and ability to play on stereotypes, but felt slightly guilty about it. Ain't that just like a woman?
Nicola Mansfield
May 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
What a bunch of complete and utter rot. I have always wanted to read Patricia Highsmith. Strangers on a Train is one of my favourite movies, Ever! and I really enjoyed the Mr. Ripley movie. I have a lot of her books and just haven't got around to them yet. The back of this collection of extremely short, short stories labels them as "mystery/fiction". This is not mystery in any shape or form. I do not know what to make of these stories. If you read my notes that follow as I read the book you'll ...more
Serra
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Got this one in a charity shop down in Cornwall and thought it sounded intriguing enough to purchase. Yet it was lacking in substance and really had no stand out pieces. What a shame...
Corey Pung
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
The title of the book, Little Tales of Misogyny, while glib, is hardly meant to be ironic or misleading. Rather, the title tells you exactly what you’ll be getting from Patricia Highsmith this time around. A more bluntly literal title could not be wished for.

The book really does contain little tales of misogyny–14 such tales in fact, most of which range between 3 and 5 pages each. Furthermore, each does contain some instance of misogyny, but if you’re hoping to find a condensed version of
...more
Andy
Apr 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Patricia Highsmith's all-too brief stories (3-4 pages apiece) brilliantly touch on every neurotic and annoying harpy in the universe: The Victim, The Perfectionist, The Evangelist, The Golddigger, etc. Needless to say they all meet a just and violent fate, bless their black little hearts. It's my duty as a man to write a masculine counterpart, I suppose, so I have my work cut out for me. But Highsmith is a genius, and I can't recommend this book enough. Great cover, too, by the way.
Michelle Sawyer
Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Patricia Highsmith's Little Tales of Misogyny is a tiny, evil little gem. This tidy collection exposes the hilariously black cores of each of the lead characters, be they male or female, so I'm not sure that misogyny is an apt title. Still, who cares? It's brilliant and awful and perfect. A darkly funny classic.
Sophy H
Jul 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Jaunty, offhand stories of treacherous women which remind me of some of those in Tales of the Unexpected.

Some shocking, some violent, some humorous. But the misogyny? Whom is the misogynist in these tales, the men in whose world the women exist, or the women themselves?!!

Interesting........
Kate
What a strange little book! Odd little stories about unhinged women, overly enthusiastic young girls in search of men, etc. Patricia Highsmith is such an excellent writer, to able to capture people in and out in just a few short pages. As you would expect from this author, all extremely well written: 5 stars for competence. This just isn't my genre, so I read them with stunned naivete instead of delighted enjoyment which they undoubtedly deserve.
Cyndi
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: clean-sweep, a2z
Most excellent tales. Brief, yet fully told! No extra words, just well written pieces with a shared theme. 4.5 stars
Nefeli
Jun 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
I can't for the life of me remember the last book that left me so perplexed about what it was trying to say. I read this one in about an hour and spend another half hour trying to understand what message it was trying to get across. What was Highsmith's point? What was I expecting, given the title? Well, I was expecting Little Tales of Misogyny, you know, short stories that point to the misogyny around us, that address the issues that women have to face in our everyday lives. I guess I was ...more
Richard
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
"It was the truths that made the people grotesques. The moment one of the people took one of the truths to himself, called it his truth, and tried to live his life by it, he became a grotesque and the truth he embraced became a falsehood."
— Sherwood Anderson


In this collection of short stories, the talented Ms. Highsmith writes like Flannery O'Connor's evil twin. The sardonic authoress introduces a character, endows them with a lofty moral attribute and stands back to watch them self-destruct
...more
Doreen
Dec 01, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is such a strange book. I remember reading it in high school and being unsure of what Ms Highsmith's point was, and this latest reading has done nothing to demystify me. I think I'm choosing to see it as an exercise in the different, stereotypical ways women have been classically portrayed in fiction, but it's neither very illuminating nor, dare I say it, entertaining. It does have a habit of sticking with you, though, which is why I bought this copy and am hanging on to it without donating ...more
Rowena
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Very interesting! Funny and misanthropic short stories. It took a while for her writing style to grow on me but the stories became more and more interesting as the book progressed.
Lena
Apr 11, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
What on earth was that?
Ken
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
A very very odd book!
Sonnet Fitzgerald
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Huh. I thought, perhaps - silly me - the title was ironic.
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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
“La niñas nacen mujeres -dijo Margot, la madre de Thea-. Los niños no nacen hombres. Tienen que aprender a serlo. Pero las niñas ya tienen un carácter de mujer.” 3 likes
“He realised what a horrible mistake, crime even, he had been guilty of in demanding such a barbaric thing as a girl’s hand.” 0 likes
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