In This Sweet Sickness, Patricia Highsmith, in her own inimitable fashion, has created a complex psychological tale as suspenseful as The Talented Mr. Ripley.
David Kelsey, a young scientist, has an unyielding conviction that life will turn out all right for him; he just has to fix the Situation: he is in love with a married woman. Obsessed with Annabelle and the life he has imagined for themincluding the fully furnished cabin he maintains for herDavid prepares to win her over, whatever it takes. In this riveting tale of a deluded loner, Highsmith reveals her uncanny ability to draw out the secret obsessions that overwhelm the human heart.
|Publisher:||Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(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
Education:B.A., Barnard College, 1942
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Poor David Kelsey has found the love of his life, but unfortunately he was not quick enough to marry her, and she is now another man's wife. That's okay. David just has to convince her that her miserable life is worth leaving, her marriage so sad that she should just walk away and come to marry him. He even has a house he visits on the weekends that he's bought and furnished specifically for her.As you can imagine, Annabelle is not all that interested in David. She never tells him directly to stop bothering her, but she drops enough hints and never encourages him. This was difficult to read. Told from David Kelsey's point of view, it is agonizing to read how he obsesses endlessly over Annabelle, how he rationalizes all her gentle brush-offs and her relationships with men, how he puts a pleasant spin on everything so that it looks like Annabelle still wants him. There are pages and pages and pages of David Kelsey's crazy to get through between every significant event in this novel. The events that happen are worthwhile, and it would be much less interesting if David Kelsey was any less sane, or less enamored of Annabelle. Better yet are his friends, who grow increasingly alarmed by his erratic behavior and desperate attempts to brush them off and stop them from interfering with his personal life.But... about three quarters of the way through, I began to grow very, very tired of David Kelsey. I was wishing for less of his endless obsessing and more action. And it was heart-breaking to see that he never, ever figured out that Annabelle didn't want him. I sympathized with him quite a bit, but Good Lord did this get boring after awhile.Well written, and a good read, but very hard to finish because of its single-mindedness. Which is the point.
As usual with Highsmith, a deeply disturbing, ambiguous view of human nature. You could read it objectively, as an account of the destructive effects of a damaged personality that leaves the central character incapable of empathy, of stepping outside itself: David Kelsey is aware, intellectually, that Effie cares very deeply for him and Annabelle doesn't, but he's totally unable to see the relevance of that information to his own life. However, Highsmith won't quite let you get away with that. Competing for our attention is another reading of the book in which David (in his alter ego as "Neumeister") is a Nietzschean hero, who has transcended the petty restrictions of the real world to enjoy his ideal, sophisticated life with an imaginary Annabelle, in which he makes the rules himself. However much we want to dismiss David as a dysfunctional stalker, Highsmith keeps on dragging us back into seeing the world from his, solipsistic, point of view - you can't help feeling that this might have been (at least in part) the way Highsmith found herself looking at the world. Apparently she was involved in a fantasy love affair at the time she started the book, albeit with rather less dramatic consequences than David's.Very interesting, although certainly not comfortable reading. Minor quibble: she's a bit heavy-handed with her character names. Annabelle for an irretrievably-lost childhood sweetheart (in a book written 3 years after Lolita came out!); Effie for a woman who's willing to destroy herself for an unreasonable love. And Neumeister for an Übermensch. Hmmm.
I kept waiting for this book to get better, or to pick up the pace. It was an ok book. Moved very slow but kept you tense, waiting for the climax or something crazy to happen. It was a good slow burn, but not something I would read again.
A really good book! Would recommend!!