Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Short-Story Month 2012: Day 23, The Still Point of the Turning World by Patricia Highsmith

Photograph of Patricia Highsmith wearing pearls on the cover of her collected work
Cover of
Nothing That Meets the Eye
"There is a small park, hardly more than a square, far over on the West Side in the lower Thirties, that is almost always deserted. A low iron fence runs around it, setting it off from a used car lot, a big redstone public dispensary of some sort, and the plain gray backs of shabby apartment buildings that share the same block with it." 

From the author of Strangers on a Train, and The Talented Mr. Ripley, and other novels, comes today's selected story.  Any number of the stories that appear in Highsmith's uncollected works, Nothing That Meets the Eye, could be here.  Highsmith is a master story-writer, and it is a current shame that this collection hasn't yet won a major award.

 "The Still Point of the Turning World" is the story of two mothers who are strangers to each other and who bring their children to play at a park; the story follows the plot imagined by one mother about the other.  Highsmith takes a common situation and makes of it a masterpiece of assumption and despair.

by Patricia Highsmith
(somewhere between 1938 and 1949)

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