Reviewed by GLORIA MAXWELL:         

PATRICIA HIGHSMITH – Little Tales of Misogyny. Otto Penzler, hardcover, April 1986. Norton, softcover, August 2002. [See also Comment #4.]

PATRICIA HIGHSMITH Little Tales of Misogyny

   As the title indicates, this book is a collection of sharp, biting indictments of women. The author’s theme is the destructive quality women have over men — innocently wrought, or with knowing spite. This destructiveness is sometimes personally fatal to the woman as well.

   Some stories are macabre, such as “The Hand,” wherein the prospective groom actually receives the hand of the woman he loves — after asking for it in marriage. Others are tongue in cheek fun: “Oona, the Jolly Cave Woman”:

    “It was not necessary to club Oona to have her, but that was the custom…”

   In some cases, the titles alone give an adequate preview for what is in store: “The Breeder,” “The Fully-Licensed Whore, or the Wife,” “The Prude,” “The Victim.” In all, seventeen tales of sparkling satire.

   This book will not be for everyone, and readers who tend to be squeamish or easily shocked are hereby warned to beware. However, for those brave enough, or daring enough, to pick up this jewel, a definite reading treat is in store. Highsmith is truly a master of her storytelling craft and bold enough to tell it like it really is — in a unique, pulsating manner.

— Reprinted from The Poisoned Pen, Vol. 7, No. 1, Fall-Winter 1987.