Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995)

One for the Isalnds

Taken from The Secret Self/2:Short Stories by Women, selected by Patricia Highsmith (1987) – originally published as part of the 1979 collection Slowly, Slowly in the Wind.

This a slightly surreal story, on the face of it about a single man travelling on a cruise ship, his destination an unnamed island, beyond an unnamed mainland.  Highsmith sets the scene of the lone passenger well and all is going swimmingly, and then suddenly we are titled (literally) into another dimension where the mainland and islands no longer exist and passengers are invited to disembark, stepping out into whatever there is.  There seems to be something here about faith, or about an alternate reality, but certainly nothing is explained or made clear to the reader which is part of the story’s success.




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