The Price of Salt: OR Carol

The Price of Salt: OR Carol

by Patricia Highsmith

Paperback(Reprint ed.)

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Centering on an unlikely romance between a young sales clerk and a lonely housewife, this lesbian cult classic is an engrossing tale of passion and self-discovery. Therese, a young sales clerk, and Carol, a housewife in the throes of a bitter divorce, meet by chance, but their instant connection is no accident. Fleeing the oppressive routines of their daily lives, they pursue their blossoming romance down the open highway in search of freedom and bliss. But their honeymoon is cut short when Carol is faced with the painful choice between caring for her child and being with her new love.

Best known for her psychological thrillers, Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith published The Price of Salt under a pseudonym to avoid suffering from 1952's disparaging view of homosexuality. But Highsmith's complex and insightful treatment of lesbian characters continues to defy stereotypes about the LGBT community. A landmark in the history of American feminist and lesbian literature, The Price of Salt is a sensual, articulate, and engaging treatise on the importance of being true to one's self.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626543089
Publisher: Echo Point Books & Media
Publication date: 11/10/2015
Edition description: Reprint ed.
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 571,030
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Patricia Highsmith (1921–95) won the O. Henry Award for her first published short story, "The Heroine." Her 22 novels and eight collections of short stories include such well-known books as Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. Highsmith engaged in sexual relationships with women as well as men, and The Price of Salt is regarded as highly autobiographical.

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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Price of Salt 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first read the 'Price of Salt' 25 years ago at the tender age of 19, the same age as the character Therese in the book. It made such an impact on me. I bought it at the now defunct 'Womanbooks' bookstore on the Upper West Side. Reading the story was like a rite of passage because the book's ending was not your typical period lesbian love story with it's morbid, tragic ending though in some ways it was a sad ending. Mostly it was a more realistic bittersweet finale. It swept me through a range of deeply felt emotions. It is a timeless love story and one that anyone would enjoy! Patricia Highsmith was a storyteller of the highest caliber!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is the end you really have a sense of who the characters were and what motivated them. It is more than a lesbian love story; it's a true novel. This book is read by myself at least once a year...too bad, though, there was never a sequel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written & engaging love story between 2 women. With a happy ending to boot- unusual for the time it was written. Thank you Ms. Highsmith!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A love story not to be missed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great piece of lesbian literature, amazing now, even 61 years later. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Difficult to love. Moves slowly and the characters are hard to relate to. Kept hoping this story would get better.
corinneblackmer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The exact words for this 1950s classic novel of lesbian love are existential film noir. Therese Belivet, an aspiring set designer in New York City, encounters Carol Aird, a glamorous and married lesbian mother, in a department store during the Christmas season. A passionate bond, not consummated for some time because Carol wants to tease Therese for pleasure, develops between the two, quickly sparking the homophobic passions and jealousies of Aird's husband, Harge, and Therese's considerably more hapless and ineffectual (fortunately) boyfriend. In the final resort, Carol chooses Therese over her daughter--not consciously or because she abandons her daughter--but rather because she has been given an ultimatum to renounce Therese as well as her lesbianism and accept having very, very limited access to her daughter. If this is a "happy ending," it is a highly qualified one, but Carol and Therese are represented as capable, competent, engaging, and socially integrated individuals who intend to live together in New York City and shall likely succeed in their relationship.
ALincolnNut on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Working at a department store counter during the Christmas season rush, young Therese Belivet assists a well-dressed woman in purchasing a doll. Somehow intrigued, Therese sends the woman a greeting card as a lark. To her surprise, the woman responds with an invitation to lunch. From that chance meeting, a deep relationship grows between these two women unhappy with their lives.Written in the early 1950s, "The Price of Salt" was a scandalous book about a lesbian relationship between a young woman and a middle-aged wife and mother. Written by Patricia Highsmith, a prolific author whose most famous books, "Strangers on a Train" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley," have been made into movies, the daring novel is reputed to have inspired Vladimir Nabokov to write "Lolita."From the beginning, the romance between Therese and Carol is threatened by numerous obstacles. Aside from the age difference, Therese is stuck with a boyfriend she does not love, pursuing a career in theater design that has barely begun. Carol has a daughter upon whom she dotes, a husband she wishes to divorce, and protective best friend who fears the consequences of her desires. Even so, the two women quickly bond and embark on a lengthy road trip together.As with any relationship, there are hiccups along the way caused by misunderstandings and miscommunications. Quickly, though, the illicit nature of the relationship causes headaches for both women in their relationships with other people. Most obvious is how the romantic affair threatens Carol's relationship with her daughter she very much loves. Although told from the point of view of Therese, who is somewhat naïve, the story is deftly and subtly handled, filled with characters who are believable and whose reactions to the situation ring true. Elegantly written with a poetic melancholy, the book is filled with great sympathy for its main characters despite the steep obstacles their relationship faces. The combination is riveting, resulting in an emotional and suspenseful page-turner.
bobbieharv on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An early non-crime novel about a lesbian affair that she originally wrote under a pseudonym. It says it inspired Lolita, but it was a lot less well-written. Somehow I never really engaged with either character.
ConnieJo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked this up because it sounded so unlike everything else Highsmith had ever written, and I wanted to see how she did a relatively serious-minded love story.I didn't really care for it, mostly because I just couldn't grow to love the main character and I dislike this kind of romance, where every action is second-guessed again and again as to how the lover will take it. I also very much disliked the way she treated her boyfriend at the end of their relationship, but he was also insistent on not breaking up, so there really wasn't too much she could do about it.I also had a love/hate relationship with the romance between Therese and Carol. Parts of it were extremely passionate, and I liked a lot of the ways they met up, traveled, and kept running into one another, and I really liked the pre-trip parts where Therese was literally thinking of nothing but Carol, but as I mentioned earlier, the fact that Therese was constantly, CONSTANTLY going over things in her head as to what she should say and do and what Carol may do in response drove me up the wall. I dislike that type of story though, so it probably doesn't really reflect on this book in particular.A lot of the characters were really well-written and played their parts in the story nicely. Therese's boyfriend, Carol's best friend and former lover Abbey, Carol's husband Harge, the older woman that worked at Therese's department store that terrified her, and the possible male romantic interest for Therese that lingered throughout the story were all quite well done.The ending was fantastic. After all the trouble the two of them ran into with investigators following them on the road, their separation, and Therese's thought process at the end of the novel were all great. I enjoyed those parts quite a bit, and I liked the eventual ending.
WordMaven on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Price of Salt was Highsmith¿s second book, written on the heels of Strangers on a Train. Salt was radical when published in 1952 because of its homosexual theme and even more radical because of its happy ending for the two women. This apparently was a great departure from similar works that often ended in suicide or despair.Carol is an urban sophisticate, probably in her late 20s or early 30s. Therese is barely out of her teenage years and still trying to break into her chosen profession, theatre set design. They live in New York, and Carol is going through a divorce.Therese¿s insecurity and uncertain character stand out in this novel. She almost idolizes Carol; you can tell it from her thoughts about Carol even when they are together. Carol comes across as very cultured and sophisticated, very blueblood East coast, albeit somewhat alcoholic and anorexic. She isn¿t a rich woman, but she is a woman of experience and good taste. Sometimes it seemed like she was trying to parent Therese by telling her what to wear and in subtle ways, and Therese was always willing to oblige Carol to win her approval. As the story progresses, Therese develops more as her own person, although not without great emotional struggle. Highsmith is very good at creating a solid picture of emotional mood and location. I could feel Therese¿s emotions; some of which I¿ve experienced myself in relationships. I¿d hoped the meaning of the book¿s title would be revealed, but salt was only mentioned twice and in its context, I could not figure out what Highsmith meant by ¿the price of salt.¿ Still, this novel published almost 60 years ago is relatable today. Human nature doesn¿t change, and a writer who can make it come alive on the page will always sell books. 4/5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This could have been so fantastic, but for the fact that I didn't care for Therese. She was such a child in so many ways and she completely turned me off when she couldn't understand why Carol would choose her daughter over her. She completely lost me at that point. her immaturity became too much for me and I no longer thought she deserved Carol. Still, overall I loved the story. I I loved the prose. I loved the tone. The ending felt a bit rushed but by that time I was no longer rooting for the couple so wasn't too bad. I would have preferred a happy outcome for Carol, but the outcome, was probably more realistic.
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My absolute favorite novel in this genre. Well written and a beautiful story that far exceeds a "lesbian love story". it's a story of sacrifice, defeat, victory and most of all self growth and maturity.
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I read this book after seeing a small bit of the filming for Carol, a movie based on this book. The book was interesting, gave me a different prespective on love. Whike not a scary book by any means,parts of it were just creepy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why in the world would someone want their kid when they could have a lovely life with their lover?