Patricia Highsmith Lived Extravagantly, and Took Copious Notes

Dwight Garner at the New York Times:

The future author of “Strangers on a Train,” the Ripley series and many other novels was learning to mediate between her intense appetite for work — few writers, these diaries make clear, had a stronger sense of vocation — and her need to lose herself in art, gin, music and warm bodies, most of them belonging to women.

There are a lot of late-night taxi rides in these journals. And necking in restaurant bathrooms (a bonus for same-sex couples). And stealing kisses from married women. And running down to Chinatown to get tattoos. Highsmith’s first was her own initials in Greek lettering on her wrist, small, in green ink.

She was always half-broke. When you date women, she joked, there’s no man to grab the check. She liked to be out. If you are made nostalgic by the mention of defunct Manhattan bars and restaurants, this book will be like reading the liner notes to a Billie Holiday or Frank Sinatra album at midnight through a glass of bourbon.

more here.