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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


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THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
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Highsmith, Patricia: The Glass Cell

  Amazon  

4 stars

TWEETABLE REVIEW: 4* Prison leaves Phillip Carter damaged, internally & externally. Bad things ensue. Good, but not the best Highsmith. https://www.book-blog.com/2012/06/highsmith-patricia-the-glass-cell.html

There's usually a hint of menace right from the start in a Patricia Highsmith novel, a feeling that danger lies in the simplest of activities, that things will soon go very wrong. Not so in The Glass Cell, at least not from the start. Things already are going poorly for Phillip Carter when the book opens. He's in prison, an innocent man except in having been naive where it came to business. Bad things do happen to him in prison, but there is no chilling undercurrent of danger, no sense that Phillip is continually worsening his situation by making bad decisions--that is, not until he gets out of prison, a bit more than a third of the way in. At that point the book starts feeling more like a traditional Highsmith novel, and Phillip--whose moral sense has been altered by his time behind bars--begins to act a bit more like Tom Ripley (the sociopathic hero of Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley and four subsequent novels) than the bumbling, trusting businessman he was when he went to prison. If the book had started at this stage, with flashbacks to his time in prison, or if the prison section were shortened, I think the story might have been more successful. So, that's one complaint about the book. My second has to do with its ending. The implication of the last pages is that things are resolved between Phillip and his wife, but this does not really spring from the situation itself. We're really just told this -- it's a "he looked at her and realized things would be okay" sort of thing. Not particularly satisfying, really. On the other hand, a less than perfect Patricia Highsmith novel is still a very good one, and certainly worth the read.

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