First thoughts about this book: Appealing. This book is very fast paced and it has kept my attention throughout the first half. The beginning was a little slow, but once it picked up, it just kept going. I really admire the way that Highsmith describes the feelings of the characters. The first thing I noticed was on page 9, “Hate had begun to paralyze his thinking”. Just they way in which she picks the words to use to describe Guy’s thoughts, is really admiring and it helps to feel how the characters feel. I also liked the way she described the scenery, like that on page 37, “Overhead, the sky was a clear strong blue. The sun poured down moltenly, not yellow but colorless, like something grown white with its own heat.” Just a beautiful description.
In sort of a weird way, I like the spirit of Bruno. Although he is pretty much insane, he really believes that you should live everyday like it is your last. He says on page 21, “I got a theory a person ought to do everything it’s possible to do before he dies, and maybe die trying to do something that’s really impossible.” And on page 68, “Yet there had always been the energy to live one more day. Death held no terror at all, however. Death was only one more adventure untried.” I mean Bruno’s ultimate goal is murder which is crazy to think about, but he wanted to be able to do everything he could before he died. After he did complete the murder or Miriam, I felt he continued to grow more insane, by collecting the newspaper clippings of the death and his elaborate scheme he planned for the death of his father. And I honestly did not believe that Guy would finally break down and try and commit the murder. But it seemed like it was coming up when Guy came to this realization: “He felt Bruno was destroying his courage to love.” (139) And it was obvious after this passage on page 140, “In the nights when he could not sleep, he enacted the murder, and it soothed him like a drug. It was not murder but an act performed to rid himself of Bruno, the slice of a knife that cut away a malignant growth. In the night, Bruno’s father was not a person but an object, a she himself was not a person but a force.”
I did get a little lost at the end of chapter 23, I was confused on exactly where Guy was going and if the cops were actually after him. Since the murder did not take place, I am very curious to see how this plays out with Bruno and if he gets upset or tries to do something bad to Guy. Or maybe Guy will try again later on to kill Bruno’s father. I am very excited to continue reading in order to figure out what happens because I really am enjoying this book.
I found a clip from the movie that shows Bruno and Guy conversing on the train about the swapping of murders :