Strangers on a Train - Patricia Highsmith

A big apology to all the Patricia Highsmith fans out there, but here comes my honest opinion about this book:

This is a huge pile of horse manure!


Some of you may know the story. Two strangers meet on a train and they talk about various things until one of them, Charles Bruno to be exact, proposes the following:


Hey! Cheeses, what an idea! We murder for each other, see? I kill your wife and you kill my father! We meet on the train, see, and nobody knows we know and eather other! Perfect alibis! Catch!


Sounds like a bad idea? Yep, it definitely does! And I had to suspend a fair amount of disbelief that the other guy (whose name is Guy, btw) doesn´t tell anyone about his encounter on the train. He could have gone to the police, he could have told his girlfriend and he could even have told his mother about this incident. But nothing happened at all, which is highly unlikely as far as I am concerned.


So, the story is kind of a mess and didn´t do anything for me. But what really annoyed me about this book are the characters. I especially hate Guy, the ordinary citizen, who is lured into a self destructive pattern by a raging lunatic. Guy is a pushover of the worst kind, whiny, boring and a total idiot. Unfortunately there are a lot of chapters that are told from Guys point of view so this novel has been a real chore for me. On the other hand I kind of like Bruno, the murderous psychopath. Patricia Highsmith is highly talented in exploring the depths of her psychopathic and/or sociopathic characters and she did a fairly good job in creating Bruno´s disturbed psyche. I would have enjoyed the book more, if she would have told the story solely from Bruno´s point of view.


I don´t know why I finished this novel. I must have had the faint hope that the ending would give me some kind of a satisfying twist, that it would be original in some kind of way. But the ending has been crappy as well so the whole book was a big disappointment. And I can say with total confidence that this book is the worst book I have ever read.