Glass Cell

Glass Cell

by Patricia Highsmith


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At last back in print, one of Patricia Highsmith's most disturbing works.

Rife with overtones of Dostoyevsky, The Glass Cell, first published forty years ago, combines a quintessential Highsmith mystery with a penetrating critique of the psychological devastation wrought by the prison system. Falsely convicted of fraud, the easygoing but naive Philip Carter is sentenced to six lonely, drug-ravaged years in prison. Upon his release, Carter is a more suspicious and violent man. For those around him, earning back his trust can mean the difference between life and death. The Glass Cell's bleak and compelling portrait of daily prison life—and the consequences for those who live it—is, sadly, as relevant today as it was when the book was first published in 1964.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393325676
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 05/19/2004
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 249
Sales rank: 801,230
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Patricia Highsmith (1921–1995) was the author of more than twenty novels, including Strangers on a Train, The Price of Salt,The Blunderer and The Talented Mr. Ripley, as well as numerous short stories.

Date of Birth:

January 19, 1921

Date of Death:

February 4, 1995

Place of Birth:

Fort Worth, Texas

Place of Death:

Locarno, Switzerland


B.A., Barnard College, 1942

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Glass Cell 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ConnieJo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This one had me creeped out right from the first few pages, where the innocent main character is hung by his thumbs and beaten, then left for days. There isn't' anything quite as brutal after that, but it lets you know what kind of book it's going to be right away.The first half of the book is what you would expect from the description, an innocent man is put through the unfair rigors of the prison system. He clings to his wife, who dutifully comes every week for a visit, and he clings to the hope of an appeal that never comes. After serving out his full sentence, the second half of the book is about the man re-joining society and coming to terms with how his wife and son have changed in seven years. This isn't quite as warm, fuzzy, and heartbreaking as it seems though, since there's the possibility his wife has had and still is having an affair. This part of the story is sort of structured as a mystery around the affair, and the good and the bad slowly come to light.The way events play out at the end are kind of unexpected, and the story uses the traditional Highsmith device of making you sympathize with the reasons someone is doing a bad thing, but as much as she uses it, I still love it every time. She's a fantastic writer, and this was a really quick, compelling read with great characters.