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The Cry of the Owl
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The Cry of the Owl

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,600 Ratings  ·  165 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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Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana, thriller
Il mio primo incontro con Patrizia è stato la volta che partii per un viaggio che doveva durare qualche settimana, forse qualche mese, ma non poté andare oltre un anno perché la patria (maledetta sempre sia) mi richiamò, e così son dovuto tornare, se pur dimenticando il cuore nel posto che lasciavo eccetera eccetera.

Il primo romanzo della Highsmith fu portato sullo schermo dal Maestro del thriller con lo stesso titolo “Strangers On a Train-L’altro uomo” nel 1951, protagoni
Dan Schwent
Dec 16, 2014 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
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever read a book with a plot that makes you so anxious to read more, thinking about the plot even when you're not reading. Well, this one did. It was a masterpiece, truly a masterpiece. The beginning was decent, however, after page 100, things starts to get more interesting and the suspense keeps you wondering " what's going to happen next?".

I can't say anything about the plot without spoiling it. All I can say it was one of the best novels I read this year.
Dec 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
"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
George K.
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
Τέταρτο βιβλίο της Πατρίσια Χάισμιθ που διαβάζω, μετά το εξαιρετικά απολαυστικό "Ο ταλαντούχος κύριος Ρίπλεϋ", το πολύ καλό "Βαθιά νερά" και την καλούτσικη συλλογή διηγημάτων "Ιστορίες για μισογύνηδες", και για άλλη μια φορά δηλώνω ικανοποιημένος και -μπορώ να πω- μαγεμένος από την γραφή και την μαεστρία της στην δημιουργία δραματικών νουάρ ιστοριών και στην σκιαγράφηση κάποιων εξαιρετικά δυνατών και μοιραίων χαρακτήρων.

Στο οπισθόφυλλο της ελληνικής έκδοσης, υπάρχει αυτό το μικρό κειμενάκι που α
Dec 24, 2014 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 things 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 ...more
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
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Lee Foust
Feb 22, 2014 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
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
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must begin by saying that I think Patricia Highsmith's writings give me the creeps! AND, I think she is brilliant. When you read her books, it is impossible to determine where she is going to take you this time!

Her books have an almost physiological effect on me – I actually experience what the characters feel, rather than using my imagination to try to simulate the experience. The ending here is particularly good in this regard as it gives no closure, but allows the sense of despair and horro
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You know a book is good if you bring it to work so you can read those last six pages!

A perfect October read. Highsmith is brilliant! To the undiscerning eye, her writing could be viewed as simple, old fashioned. Don't let that deceive you, her craftsmanship of a story is head and shoulders over any other writer I've read. And I read A LOT of mysteries! This is my darkest nightmare turned reality; you are innocent, but circumstances look like you are guilty! This took a while to get into, but onc
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.
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
intense and chilling! (though I still like the talented Mr. Ripley better)
Brian Poole
Mar 23, 2015 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
Aug 01, 2015 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
Aug 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction, crime
3.5 stars (goodness I wish Goodreads had half stars. LOL

I really enjoyed this book. I am a huge fan of Highsmith's writing, there was never a dull moment reading this. The book opens up with Robert the main character, who suffers from depression, watching a young girl (23, named Jenny) in her kitchen window. He's not a peeping Tom, he's not trying to watch her undress. Robert just finds solice in Jenny's happiness, watching her everyday life, like cooking, washing dishes, etc. Then Jenny discove
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
Jan 19, 2010 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.
Jul 21, 2011 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.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greek, crime
Μέτριο βιβλίο, δυστυχώς, αν και έχει καλά στοιχεία. Οι χαρακτήρες στερούνται βαρύτητας, δείχνουν να υποκρίνονται, παρά να ζουν. Η πλοκή έχει 1-2 ανατροπές, αλλά στο σύνολό της είναι αποσπασματική, χωρίς συνοχή κ θα έλεγα χωρίς ιδιαίτερη αγωνία.
Ίσως φταίει κ η μετάφραση που νομίζω είναι κάτω του μετρίου. Το να μεταφράζει κανείς λέξη-λέξη ένα κείμενο (ακόμη κ τους ιδιωματισμούς) δεν είναι καθόλου ασφαλής δρόμος για να αποδοθεί το κλίμα κ το ύφος του συγγραφέα.
Δεν θα το πρότεινα. Ο χρόνος μας είν
Jan 16, 2015 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
Jon Ureña
Workmanlike prose and a story that is not so much a mystery as a succession of ways people the protagonist knows end up fucking with him.

When I read Highsmith's This Sweet Sickness, I immediately knew she was autistic. Not only a biography of hers clarified it (Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith), but one of her close "friends", a therapist, stated in retrospect that these days she would have been diagnosed as having Asperger's. So it didn't surprise me that this book touched some as
Geoff Sebesta
Sep 29, 2011 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
David Lemons
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have said how much I prefer Patricia Highsmith over many thriller writers. "Owl" is what might be called a diaphanous, existentialist work. As you experience the protagonist's loneliness and driven alienation, you yourself feel detached from who you think you are. You get approximately the same feeling of dislocation when reading Jorge Luis Borges or Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

I first discovered Highsmith at Eleftheroudakis Bookstore in Kifissia, Athens in 1995. Her fame preceded her, but I didn't
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
Ms. Jared
Three and a half stars. It was still very interesting and suspenseful, but I didn't love it as much as the other ones. I think the peeping tom plot line just wasn't all that appealing to me even though the fallout from it was pretty believable and exciting.

Peeper peeps, gets caught by the woman he was peeping on, she falls in love with him, he can't seem to fall in love back, and her former fiancé sets out to ruin his life with the help of the peeper's ex-wife because he resents being dumped. A
Feb 18, 2013 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 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
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SOBRE EL FINAL 1 6 Oct 27, 2015 12:31PM  
  • Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith
  • Ride the Pink Horse
  • The Kindness Of Strangers: The Life Of Tennessee Williams
  • The Instant Enemy
  • The Color of Night
  • Leave Her to Heaven
  • Savage Art: A  Biography of Jim Thompson
  • A Carnivore's Inquiry
  • The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith
  • The Rise of Life on Earth
  • MVP
  • The Long Dream
  • Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye
  • The Blue Room
  • Nightfall
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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“—¿Por qué estaba deprimido? —preguntó ella.
—No podría explicarlo —frunció las cejas—. No hay unos motivos concretos, excepto que para mí la vida carece de sentido, a menos de que la viva para otra persona. He estado viviendo para usted desde septiembre... aunque no la conocía.”
“[...]Cuando regresé a la Universidad me fui a vivir con un amigo, un compañero de estudios. Se llamaba Kermit. Vivía cerca del colegio con su familia. Tenía un hermano y una hermana menores que él y aquella casa era un caos.—Robert sonrió—. Pero era un hogar, ¿comprendes? No, no puedes comprenderlo si nunca has carecido de uno verdadero.” 0 likes
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