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The Tremor of Forgery – “Night in Tunisia”

July 7, 2013

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The Tremor of Forgery

by Patricia Highsmith

Atlantic Monthly Press, 1969, $11.33

I like Patricia Highsmith’s novels—‘Strangers on the Train,” “Ripley,” etc.— but this is not one of my favorites. Usually she has the central character, with whom the reader closely associates, step a little out of line and one thing escalates to another. We are left with accepting the moral consequences.

In this case the narrator, temporarily in Tunisia and also a writer, throws his typewriter at an Arab housebreaker and may or may not have killed him. It comes down to whether it is OK or not for an American to act savagely in a savage land. I understood the conundrum but didn’t feel it (nor know enough of history to see it as a metaphor for the Arab/Israeli conflict at the time).

And the resolution is weird. The writer finishes his novel and goes back to his ex-wife in NYC. Sure Highsmith was an expatriate and may have dealt with similar factors, but she doesn’t make them our dilemma. The settings seem authentic, but who cares. Who cares?

2 out of 5_edited-1

Order directly from Amazon. Click: The Tremor of Forgery

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