Eleven - Patricia Highsmith I was won over as I read the Foreword by Graham Greene:
Her characters are irrational, and they leap to life in their very lack of reason; suddenly we realize how unbelievable rational most fictional characters are as they lead their lives from A to Z, like commuters always taking the same train. The motives of these characters are never inexplicable because they are so drearily obvious. The characters are as flat as a mathematical symbol. We accepted them as real once, but when we look back at them from Miss Highsmith’s side of the frontier, we realize that our world was not really rational as all that. Suddenly with a sense of fear we think, ‘Perhaps I really belong here,’ and going out into the familiar street we pass with a shiver of apprehension the offices of the American Express, the centre, for so many of Miss Highsmith’s dubious men, of their rootless European experience, where letters are to be picked up (though the name on the envelope is probably false) and travelers’ cheques are to be cashed (with a forged signature).
Eleven short stories comprise Eleven. Each original, some creepy and all unable to be discussed here because it doesn’t take much to reveal spoilers in a story 10 or 15 pages long. She can capture anxiety and suffering better in a few paragraphs than many can do with a novel. But, without wanting to reveal too much, included are two fantastic stories about snails and a warning to moms who make their sons wear short shorts.