Sunday Afternoon Reads and Giveaway: "The Price of Salt" by Patricia Highsmith

Read on to the end to be in to win a copy of this novel!

Patricia Highsmith was the mother of suspense novelists in the middle of the twentieth century. Most recognised in the current decade as the author of the novel "The Talented Mr. Ripley", one of her finest works (and scandalous at the time) was the love story "The Price of Salt", a tale of a blossoming romance - between two women.
The story follows Therese Belivet, a young woman in an average relationship with a man of very small ambitions. Lack of family of her own and a dissatisfying position in a department store leave her feeling that her life is lacking... that is until the chance meeting with the elegant Carol Aird. Carol is in her mid-thirties, has wealth that the working-class Therese can only imagine and is in the midst of divorcing her husband Harge. The women are attracted to each other and the first part of the novel studies this slow building to the start of their relationship - the way in which they exchange their displays of affection in a society that doesn't comprehend the possibility of women loving each other in a sexual manner. Their individual situations come to a head and they decide to road trip cross-country where it is apparent but not explicit that their relationship deepens to a physical level. Can this relationship last in 1950s middle America? You'll need to read the novel to find out, but the novel is wrapped up in suprisingly satisfactory yet un-soppy fashion... just the right amount of sentimentality that you would expect, 'knowing' the two female protagonists the way that you feel they do.
Ms. Highsmith writes this novel in a way that gels well with modern society's acceptance that there are those with sexualities outside of heterosexuality. While this book was proclaimed a "lesbian" novel at the time, I feel that she actually wrote the characters as more bisexual - this strengthens her theme of love being where you find it rather than where it is expected. The writing is intelligent and articulate but at the same time manages to give both Carol and Therese very distinct voices within the text. She makes strong use of background figures of foreboding and risk that propel the story along very successfully. Possibly most powerful of all, she makes me as a reader understand a love story that is completely outside of my own experience.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

To win a copy of this novel, leave me a comment letting me know where you feel you fall on the sexuality spectrum (nosey I know, but this novel is worth it). Draw will be drawn on the 1st of Feb by random number generator if there is more than one comment.


  1. I'm the boring ol' heterosexual type. I've never been attracted to the other gender, but I'm totally for anyone who is.

  2. I'm not so boring. I'm not sure I'd ever date a chick, but I am attracted to them. :)

  3. Along the same lines of Bambola. I'm attracted to women but I've never dated one and I'm in a long term hetero relationship.

  4. Bisexual my love, only *really* realised it last year and admitted it this year. Luckily I have my amazing hubby who completely understands my attraction to the ladies. I love him more than life!

  5. I'm bisexual, though i think i prefer girls.