Small G: A Summer Idyll

Pat’s U.S. publishers rejected her last work a few months before her death; I suppose the in-your-face gayness was too much for them? The story follows an atypical trajectory for Highsmith, starting with the brutal murder of Peter, a young homosexual, then meandering through the lives of various other Zurich residents related to Peter before ending on a happy note with Peter’s lover having moved on, and happy endings all around. Luisa is a teenager who fell in love with Peter to his dismay, and is eased in his death by Rickie, Peter’s much older boyfriend. She’s an apprentice seamstress kept under virtual lock and key by her mistress, Renate, who vocally abuses gays at the local watering hole, the Small g, AKA Jakob’s (small g for gay). Teddie is a young man who wanders in one night, Rickie falls for him but he’s straight and lusts after Luisa who ends up dating both Teddie (a man) and Dorrie (a woman). Renate is killed after slipping on the stairs running after Dorrie and Luisa inherits her whole estate, including the dress shop. Very odd for Highsmith, the last word is “happy.” Did she realize that would be ultimately her final printed word? Would she have wanted that? Hmm.