Tuesday, July 9, 2024

The Tremor of Forgery

The Tremor of ForgeryThe Tremor of Forgery by Patricia Highsmith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Tremor of Forgery is a gently suspenseful story rich in its sun-soaked Tunisian setting and its expat characters, each involved in moral uncertainty about one, possibly two murders, clandestine pro-USA broadcasts to the Soviet Union, a suicide, and a floundering love affair. The main character is an author and he provides details of his own protagonist which suggest comparison to the narrator, or do they? The last few chapters pick up in suspense and the story ends to this reader's satisfaction. "Don't trust her, don't trust her," I kept thinking, anxious for him to see the light. The gay friend upstairs was an important character and revealed the prejudices Highsmith must have been familiar with in 1969; it made me think of Giovanni's Room. The description of the Tunis air terminal delighted me: "The Tunis air terminal presented a confused picture. Vital direction signs vied with aspirin advertisements, the 'Information' desk had no one at it, and several transistors carried by people walking about, warred with louder music from the restaurant's radio on the balcony, absolutely defeating the occasional voice of a female announcer, presumably giving planes' arrival and departure times. Ingham could not even tell if the announcer was speaking in French, Arabic or English." Touted by The New Yorker as "her best novel," I recommend it.

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