Strangers on a Train

Strangers on a Train - Patricia Highsmith

Good and quite enjoyable if you buy into the whole “strangers hitting it off and over-sharing life stories in public” premise, but not so good or enjoyable if you find all of that unbelievable. Unfortunately, I fall into the latter group.


While I enjoyed Highsmith’s prose, clever social commentary, and turns of phrases, I could not buy into the premise nor circumstances of this story. I still find both hard to believe, and it's even harder to believe that one of these two strangers just happens to be a cunning sociopath with a penchant for mind games and the other stranger just happens to be stuck in an inconvenient life situation, which the former stranger thinks he can solve. And these two characters just happen to run into each other. It’s all too coincidental for me and requires too much of a leap (or reach) to grasp. I expect there to be more from noir fiction than a required leap of faith, and I expect more from Highsmith because The Talented Mr. Ripley was such a well-crafted adventure.


However, if you do buy into all of the coincidences presented in this book and like noir fiction in general, then you would probably find this book highly enjoyable. Highsmith’s prose adds depth and strength to an otherwise tepid story. The way in which she handles minor revelations is what I like most about this story. She also brings up a few interesting questions regarding social decorum and getting away with murder.