Found in the Street

Found in the Street

3.43 (414 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Paperback

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When Elsie Taylor drifts to Greenwich Village from upstate New York, her vitality soon wins her a sophisticated circle of friends. But she also becomes the obsession of a failed inventor and nightwatchman, who would protect her from the corruption he sees everywhere around more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 110 x 180 x 16mm | 164g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • 0140097783
  • 9780140097788

Review Text

Highsmith (Strangers on a Train), a pioneer of the psychopathology thriller, is to some extent responsible for the high level of craft at work in that genre today. So it's a bit ironic that her new novel - an initially intriguing but ultimately thin and unconvincing study in sexual obsession - is made disappointing by contrast with the powerful work of such second-generation practitioners as Ruth Rendell. Set in NYC's Greenwich Village/Soho, the book focuses on two men's very different preoccupations with beautiful, angelically blond Elsie, a would-be model/actress newly arrived in the city and working as a Village waitress. Middle-aged security guard Ralph Linderman - deserted by his wife, sexually repressed, wildly moralistic yet quirkily anti-religious - sees Elsie as the embodiment of sweet innocence; he follows her around, warning her against big-city sin. Meanwhile, Elsie meets Jack and Natalia Sutherland, a glamorous 30-ish couple (he's an artist, she's an art dealer) who introduce the young stunner to their glitzy friends, helping her get started as a model; Jack is drawn to Elsie in a romantic, esthetic, non-sexual way, but he suspects that Natalia is sliding into an affair with Elsie (whose sex-life is primarily lesbian). Ralph, misunderstanding Jack's interest in Elsie, is soon eavesdropping, haranguing, and harassing. But the violence here, when it eventually comes, emerges arbitrarily from left. field, leaving the two men to feud pointlessly in the anticlimactic final chapters. The portrait of the Sutherland marriage, with trendy art-world backgrounds, is effectively ambiguous and creepily convincing. Crazy coot Ralph, however, is an overly familiar psycho, type, especially in comparison to Rendell's deranged loners. And despite the long, slow buildup, there's no payoff. Sporadically engrossing, then, but largely unsatisfying. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

414 ratings
3.43 out of 5 stars
5 14% (60)
4 33% (137)
3 37% (155)
2 12% (49)
1 3% (13)
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