People Who Knock on the Door

What a dud to finish Highsmith’s oeuvre on. I’ve worked my way through her complete list of novels and short stories and this is the last one I was able to finish (another post to come on the ones that stunk so badly that I couldn’t even hold my nose to complete). I guess I stuck it out with this one out of curiosity—when would the crime happen, how dull could she make it? This is from her terrible 1980s phase and she amps up the unblinking dullness. The story revolves around Arthur, a teenager who plans on going to Columbia in the fall but who knocks up his girlfriend Maggie who has an abortion. Arthur’s dad has become a born-again Christian and kicks him out of the house for this nonsense, says he won’t pay for Columbia. Arthur picks himself up, lives at a friend’s house and then in the local college’s dorms. Mr. high and mighty religious nut dad ends up getting Irene, a woman in his church, pregnant, and Arthur’s younger brother Robbie shoots him out of disgust for his sin. Happily ever after, amen, pass the salt. Lackluster effort that wasn’t worth flipping pages to get to the end.