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Old 09-12-2018, 03:16 AM   #1
sun surfer
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The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

'Patricia Highsmith's story of romantic obsession may be one of the most important, but still largely unrecognized, novels of the twentieth century. First published in 1952 and touted as "the novel of a love that society forbids," the book soon became a cult classic.

Based on a true story plucked from Highsmith's own life, Carol tells the riveting drama of Therese Belivet, a stage designer trapped in a department-store day job, whose routine is forever shattered by a gorgeous epiphany—the appearance of Carol Aird, a customer who comes in to buy her daughter a Christmas toy. Therese begins to gravitate toward the alluring suburban housewife, who is trapped in a marriage as stultifying as Therese's job...'


Also published with the title Carol, and also published with the authorial pseudonym Claire Morgan

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We're trying something new - discussion sections - as an encouragement to keep those reading on more of a similar timeline to foster more discussion. These are only softly recommended however and not required at all. Anyone can discuss any part or aspect of the selection at any time. We do ask that if you want to discuss something pertaining to a later section earlier that you put it in spoiler quotes, but if you happen to not then that's fine too.

Recommended discussion timeframe:

~073 pages, In 00 days, around Wednesday the 12th of September, the first quarter

~146 pages, In 07 days, around Wednesday the 19th of September, half

~219 pages, In 14 days, around Wednesday the 26th of September, three quarters

~292 pages, In 21 days, around Wednesday the 3rd of October, the entire selection


This is the MR Literary Club selection for September 2018. Everyone is welcome so feel free to start or join in the conversation at any time; the more the merrier!


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Old Yesterday, 02:56 PM   #2
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Im a few chapters in so far. It's definitely giving me a very good 'picture' of mid-century NYC. It's odd, the film never made me think of this, but the book makes me think of the series 'Are You Being Served?', perhaps because the beginning goes into more detail about Therese's department store job. A few decades are off and there's different continents, but this career salespeople in a large department store vibe is similar, and the early scene in the store dining room reminds me of the episodes of Are You Being Served? when they eat in the dining room. Also, though a decade off too, Inside Llewyn Davis came to mind when Therese and Richard meet the other two men one of whom may get her a job. Just that feeling of poorer, artsy, even edgy NYC in a still very conservative but changing post-world-wars time, and in that vein I guess there's also Breakfast at Tiffany's to throw in the mix.

One thing I found very interesting for a book from the 1950s, though much less so considering the subject matter, is when it's mentioned that many little girls come to see the dolls and pick out their favourite, and also very rarely some little boys. It was just a throwaway line, but that Highsmith even thought to include it is remarkable to me since I think many authors wouldn't have mentioned boys with dolls at all.
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Old Yesterday, 03:34 PM   #3
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Patria Highsmith has herself discussed the origins of the novel. She wrote about it detail HERE for the Telegraph, but here are some highlights:

Quote:
One morning, into this chaos of noise and commerce, there walked a blondish woman in a fur coat. She drifted towards the doll counter with a look of uncertainty – should she buy a doll or something else? – and I think she was slapping a pair of gloves absently into one hand.

Perhaps I noticed her because she was alone, or because a mink coat was a rarity, and because she was blondish and seemed to give off light. With the same thoughtful air, she purchased a doll, one of two or three I had shown her, and I wrote her name and address on the receipt, because the doll was to be delivered to an adjacent state. It was a routine transaction, the woman paid and departed. But I felt odd and swimmy in the head, near to fainting, yet at the same time uplifted, as if I had seen a vision.
(Of note, Blanchett makes this motion with the gloves in the film adaptation).

Quote:
As usual, I went home after work to my apartment, where I lived alone. That evening I wrote out an idea, a plot, a story about the blondish and elegant woman in the fur coat. I wrote some eight pages in longhand in my then-current notebook or cahier.
"The woman paid and left, but I felt odd and swimmy in the head, near to fainting, as if I had seen a vision"

This was the entire story of The Price of Salt. It flowed from my pen as if from nowhere – beginning, middle and end. It took me about two hours, perhaps less.
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Old Yesterday, 09:10 PM   #4
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I have to finish my current book from the library before I can start this one. The book is The Good Son by You-jeong Jeong. Ironically it is described as “The Talented Mr. Ripley meets The Bad Seed.” Also it is a South Korean thriller translated by Chi-Young Kim. She translated Please Look After Mom which the Lit Club read earlier this year.
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Old Yesterday, 09:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bookworm_Girl View Post
I have to finish my current book from the library before I can start this one. The book is The Good Son by You-jeong Jeong. Ironically it is described as “The Talented Mr. Ripley meets The Bad Seed.” Also it is a South Korean thriller translated by Chi-Young Kim. She translated Please Look After Mom which the Lit Club read earlier this year.
I read Please Look After Mom earlier this year - sorry I missed out on the discussion!
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