Review: Those Who Walk Away by Patricia Highsmith

20 Books of Summer 2018: Book 4

After I read The Talented Mr. Ripley, I went to my favorite used bookshop in search of more books by Patricia Highsmith. They had two: The Two Faces of January and Those Who Walk Away. It was hard to push aside the expectations I had from reading Ripley so I’m not 100% sure my gripes with this book are fair. Those Who Walk Away is curiously lacking in suspense and intensity—not from a flaw in the writing, but because the would-be murderer fails twice in the first 50 pages for a lack of effort. It’s tough to see him as a legitimate threat and not a well-dressed Scoobie-Doo villain. read more

Review: The Eternal Wonder by Pearl S. Buck

20 Books of Summer 2018: Book 3

I’ve only read one other book by Pearl S. Buck and the difference in quality between The Good Earth and The Eternal Wonder is striking. When poking around the Internet, I learned this book was published posthumously under strange circumstances. Knowing this alleviates the guilt of not finishing it (I skimmed the second half) because I’d never have picked it up if I’d known. I don’t want anyone to publish my drafts when I’m dead, so I’d rather not read the unfinished works of others. read more