Patricia Highsmith was by all accounts a horrible person, who was beset with Devils, Lusts and Strange Desires.
Patricia was a drunk racist anti-Semite. She drank from morning to night. She stated that “black men become physically ill if they did not have sex many times a month” and were too “feckless and stupid to realize that unprotected intercourse led to pregnancy”. And that was in 1992–not the 1800s. Patricia berated her beloved Nazis for only killing half the Jews on earth instead of all of them. She thought Israel should be abolished and its lands returned to the Palestine’s. Yet she had long-term affairs with three Jewish women.
However, Patricia did have some great novels within her. The Talented Mr. Ripley series and Strangers on a Train being the most famous examples. She was tight with her money and died with an estate of more than three million dollars. So, despite her demons, she was successful in her art.
Devils, Lusts and Strange Desires is a well-researched biography about a woman who hid her demons from the public view. My issue with the book is the beginning is a slow slog through Patricia’s youth. However, once that part is over, the pacing picks up considerably. There is no argument that Patricia was a unique woman. So if that intrigues you, pick up this book. 3 stars.
Thanks to Bloomsbury USA and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.