"A great American writer…Highsmith's writing is wicked…it puts a spell on you." —Entertainment Weekly 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, The Price of Salt (or 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. They fall in love and set out across the United States, ensnared by society's confines and the imminent disapproval of others, yet propelled by their infatuation. The Price of Salt is a brilliantly written story that may surprise Highsmith fans and will delight those discovering her work.
the price of salt
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First Digital Edition; Grier Rating: A*** Therese is nineteen and working in a department store during the Christmas shopping season. She dates men, although not with real enthusiasm. One day a beautiful older woman comes over to her counter and buys a doll. As the purchase is a C.O.D. order, Therese makes a mental note of the customer’s address. She is intrigued and drawn to the woman. Although young, inexperienced and shy, she writes a note to the customer, Carol, and is elated and surprised when Carol invites her to meet. Therese realizes she has strong feelings for Carol, but is unsure of what they represent. Carol, in the process of a bitter separation and divorce, is also quite lonely. Soon the two women begin spending a great deal of time together. Before long, they are madly and hopelessly in love. The path is not easy for them, however. Carol also has a child and a very suspicious husband--dangerous ground for the lovers. When the women leave New York and travel west together, they discover the choices they’ve made to be together will have lasting effects on both their lives. Considered to be the first lesbian pulp novel to break the pulp publishing industry-enforced pattern of tragic consequences for its lesbian heroines, The Price of Salt was written by Patricia Highsmith (under the pseudonym, Claire Morgan) – the author of Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. As one reviewer wrote in 1952, “Claire Morgan is completely natural. She has a story to tell and she tells it with an almost conversational ease. Her people are neither degenerate monsters nor fragile victims of the social order. They must—and do—pay a price for thinking, feeling and loving ‘differently,’ but they are courageous and true to themselves throughout.”
A chance encounter between two lonely women leads to a passionate romance in this lesbian cult classic. Therese, a struggling young sales clerk, and Carol, a homemaker in the midst of a bitter divorce, abandon their oppressive daily routines for the freedom of the open road, where their love can blossom. But their newly discovered bliss is shattered when Carol is forced to choose between her child and her lover. Author Patricia Highsmith is best known for her psychological thrillers Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. Originally published in 1952 under a pseudonym, The Price of Salt was heralded as "the novel of a love society forbids." Highsmith's sensitive treatment of fully realized characters who defy stereotypes about homosexuality marks a departure from previous lesbian pulp fiction. Erotic, eloquent, and suspenseful, this story offers an honest look at the necessity of being true to one's nature.
THE PRICE OF SALT is the famous lesbian love story by Patricia Highsmith, written under the pseudonym Claire Morgan. The author became notorious due to the story's latent lesbian content and happy ending, the latter having been unprecedented in homosexual fiction. Highsmith recalled that the novel was inspired by a mysterious woman she happened across in a shop and briefly stalked. Because of the happy ending (or at least an ending with the possibility of happiness) which defied the lesbian pulp formula and because of the unconventional characters that defied stereotypes about homosexuality, THE PRICE OF SALT was popular among lesbians in the 1950s. The book fell out of print but was re-issued and lives on today as a pioneering work of lesbian romance.
The Price of Salt (sometimes published under the title Carol) is a 1952 romance novel by Patricia Highsmith, written under the pseudonym Claire Morgan. The author – known as a suspense writer following the publication of her previous book, Strangers on a Train – became notorious due to the story's lesbian content and happy ending, the latter having been unprecedented in gay fiction. In an afterword written many years later as part of the re-release by Naiad Press, Highsmith recalled that the novel was inspired by a mysterious woman who came to shop at a store where she was working. That night she began work on the story. The next day she became sick with chickenpox, but worked through her illness, even claiming the fever helped her to write. Plot summary The novel's two main characters are Therese Belivet, a lonely young woman, and Carol Aird, an elegant stranger Therese encounters one day at her temporary job in a New York department store. Therese is just starting out her adult life in Manhattan and looking for her chance to break through into her dream job as a theater set designer. Therese was semi-abandoned as a small girl by her widowed mother, who sent Therese to an Episcopalian boarding school. She is dating a young man, Richard, whom she does not love and does not want to have sex with. On a long and monotonous day working in the toy department of the department store, Therese is struck by an elegant and beautiful woman in her early thirties, whom she serves. The woman, Carol, gives her address to Therese in order to have her purchases delivered. On an impulse, Therese sends Carol a Christmas card to her home address. Carol, who is going through a difficult separation and divorce and is herself quite lonely, unexpectedly responds, and the two begin to spend time together. Therese develops a strong attachment to Carol, but she is unsure how to understand her feelings. Therese's boyfriend accuses Therese of having a "schoolgirl crush" but Therese knows it is more than that: she is in love with Carol. Carol's husband, Harge, is suspicious of Carol's relationship with Therese, whom he meets briefly when Therese stays over at Carol's house. Carol had previously admitted to Harge that she had a short-lived homosexual relationship with her best friend, Abby. Harge is furious, and he takes the couple's daughter to live with him, pending the final divorce proceedings. To escape from the tension in New York, Carol and Therese take a road trip West, over the course of which it becomes clear that the feelings the women have for each other are romantic and sexual. They become physically as well as emotionally intimate and declare their love for each other. The women are unaware that Carol's husband has hired a private investigator to follow them and collect any evidence that would incriminate Carol as homosexual in the upcoming custody hearings. The investigator bugs the room in which Carol and Therese first have sex. Carol stops him on the road and demands that he hand over any evidence against her. The investigator sells Carol some tapes, at a high price, but then tells her that he has already sent several tapes and other evidence to Harge in New York. Carol knows that she will lose custody and most visitation rights to her daughter if she continues her relationship with Therese. Carol leaves Therese out West and heads back to New York to fight for her daughter. She tells Therese that she cannot continue their relationship. Therese is heartbroken, but her strength of character allows her to try to rebuild her life in New York. In New York, the evidence for Carol's homosexuality is so strong that her case for custody would stand no chance in court, and she capitulates to Harge in the end, submitting to an agreement which gives him full custody of their child and leaves Carol with rare supervised visits. However, the book's ending is unusually optimistic compared to those of lesbian pulp novels, as it suggests that Carol and Therese may stay together and be happy after all. Literary significance and criticism Because of the happy ending (or at least an ending with the possibility of happiness) that defied the lesbian pulp formula and because of the unconventional characters that defied stereotypes about homosexuality, The Price of Salt was popular among lesbians in the 1950s. The book fell out of print but was re-issued by Naiad Press and a number of other feminist and lesbian presses.
Unlock the more straightforward side of The Price of Salt with this concise and insightful summary and analysis! This engaging summary presents an analysis of The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, which traces the burgeoning love affair between the 19-year-old shop clerk Therese Belivet and Carol Aird, a glamourous, alluring older woman who is undergoing an acrimonious divorce. In spite of their apparent differences, the two women are soon unable to deny their attraction to one another, and must fight against the pervasive homophobia that conspires to keep them apart. The Price of Salt was initially published under a pseudonym, before being republished as Carol under Highsmith’s own name. The novel’s happy ending was unprecedented for lesbian fiction at the time, and it inspired an Academy Award-winning film in 2015. Find out everything you need to know about The Price of Salt in a fraction of the time! This in-depth and informative reading guide brings you: • A complete plot summary • Character studies • Key themes and symbols • Questions for further reflection Why choose BrightSummaries.com? Available in print and digital format, our publications are designed to accompany you on your reading journey. The clear and concise style makes for easy understanding, providing the perfect opportunity to improve your literary knowledge in no time. See the very best of literature in a whole new light with BrightSummaries.com!
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