Cover image for Nothing that meets the eye : the uncollected stories of Patricia Highsmith
Nothing that meets the eye : the uncollected stories of Patricia Highsmith
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : W.W. Norton, c2002.
Physical Description:
455 p. ; 24 cm.
Early stories, 1938-1949. The mightiest mornings -- Uncertain treasure -- Magic casements -- Miss Juste and the green rompers -- When the door is always open and the welcome mat is out -- In the plaza -- The hollow oracle -- The great cardhouse -- The car -- The still point of the turning world -- The pianos of the Steinachs -- A mighty nice man -- Quiet night -- Doorbell for Louisa.

Middle and later stories, 1952-1982. A bird in hand -- Music to die by -- Man's best friend -- Born failure -- A dangerous hobby -- The returnees -- Nothing that meets the eye -- Two disagreeable pigeons -- Variations on a game -- A girl like Phyl -- It's a deal -- Things had gone badly -- The trouble with Mrs. Blynn, the trouble with the world -- The second cigarette.


Material Type
Call Number
Adult Fiction F Highsmith

On Order



The Patricia Highsmith renaissance continues with Nothing That Meets the Eye, a brilliant collection of twenty-eight psychologically penetrating stories, a great majority of which are published for the first time in this collection. This volume spans almost fifty years of Highsmith's career and establishes her as a permanent member of our American literary canon, as attested by recent publication of two of these stories in The New Yorker and Harper's. The stories assembled in Nothing That Meets the Eye, written between 1938 and 1982, are vintage Highsmith: a gigolo-like psychopath preys on unfulfilled career women; a lonely spinster's fragile hold on reality is tethered to the bottle; an estranged postal worker invents homicidal fantasies about his coworkers. While some stories anticipate the diabolical narratives of the Ripley novels, others possess a Capra-like sweetness that forces us to see the author in a new light. From this new collection, a remarkable portrait of the American psyche at mid-century emerges, unforgettably distilled by the inimitable eye of Patricia Highsmith.A New York Times Notable Book and a Washington Post Rave of 2002. "Almost every piece...contains touches that reveal what a subtle writer Highsmith was."--James Campbell, New York Times "A thrilling compendium of work full of surprises."--Ed Siegel, Boston Globe "One of the exhilarating effects of reading Highsmith's the greatly enlarged sense of her range and their surehandedness, their amazing breadth and abundance...[these stories] compel attention and they add significantly to her already formidable presence."--James Lasdun, Washington Post

Author Notes

Patricia Highsmith wrote twenty-one novels including "Strangers on a Train" & the "Ripley" series. She died in 1995 in Switzerland, where she resided much of her life.

(Publisher Provided) Patricia Highsmith (January 19, 1921 -- February 4, 1995) was an American novelist and short story writer, most widely known for her psychological thrillers, which led to more than two dozen film adaptations. She was born in Fort Worth, Texas. Highsmith grew up with her maternal grandmother in Astoria, Queens, and attended Barnard College.

Her first novel, Strangers on a Train (1950), was adapted for stage and screen numerous times, notably by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951. In addition to her acclaimed series about murderer Tom Ripley, which was made into a film in 1955, she wrote many short stories, often macabre, satirical or tinged with black humor. Highsmith liked to examine the ways in which people can get to the point where they are capable of murder, as well as who they become after they have committed a crime. In carefully constructed stories and novels, she integrated this scrutiny of the human psyche into complex plots that often took unexpected twists. In Strangers on a Train, architect Guy Haines meets Charles Bruno on a train. Bruno conceives a plan to have Haines kill Bruno's father, while Bruno will kill Haines's wife. The effect that this plan has on Haines is the focus of the story.

Highsmith's awards include: O. Henry Award for best publication of first story, for "The Heroine" in Harper's Bazaar (1946), Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, for The Talented Mr. Ripley (1957), and the Dagger Award -- Category Best Foreign Novel, for The Two Faces of January from the Crime Writers' Association of Great Britain (1964).

Highsmith died of aplastic anemia and cancer in Locarno, Switzerland, at age 74. Her last novel, Small G: A Summer Idyll, was published one month after her death in 1995.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Following on the heels of The Selected Stories of Patricia Highsmith (2001) comes Nothing That Meets the Eye: The Uncollected Stories of Patricia Highsmith, with an afterword by Paul Ingendaay and notes on the stories by Anna von Planta. Most of these 28 tales, which Highsmith (1921-1995) wrote between 1938 and 1982, are previously unpublished. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Highsmith ranges from chilling (think The Talented Mr. Ripley) to unaccountably sweet in this collection of 28 stories, most never before published. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.