My secrets – the secrets that everyone has – are here, in black and white.
Unbeknownst to most, Patricia Highsmith kept 18 diaries and 38 notebooks throughout her life. The way she talked about these journals – especially her notebooks – indicates that she always meant to bring them into the open one day. Posthumously discovered in Highsmith’s linen cupboard and edited down from 56 thick spiral notebooks by her devoted editor, Anna Von Planta, this one-volume assemblage of her diaries and notebooks reveal a complex life and tell the story of a woman battling with the social norms and sexual mores of her time.
We see her writing the books that would make her name, including the Ripley novels which mark the apotheosis of the psychological thriller, and The Price of Salt, one of the first mainstream novels to depict two women in love. We see Highsmith reflecting loneliness and intimacy, sexuality and sacrifice, love and murder. We see her tumultuous romantic relationships play out alongside her acquaintances with other writers including Jane Bowles, Aaron Copland, John Gielgud, Truman Capote, Carson McCullers, Arthur Koestler, and W. H. Auden.
Highsmith’s own drawings and watercolours appear alongside the journals.