Patricia Highsmith is a highly regarded author who became famous for creating the influential character Tom Ripley, which became the protagonist of an important saga of the author and flagship of several adaptations since its creation in 1955.
But it is not only in this saga that she stands out. Highsmith writes great thrillers and In Deep Water, 1957 novel republished this year by the publisher intrinsic, is another successful case. The work was the inspiration for the recent Amazon Prime movie deep waterr (2022), formerly having as adaptations the long Victim by Witness (1981) and the series Tiefe Wasser (1983).
The plot features Vic and Melinda, a couple that is far from an example of a healthy relationship, their marriage is maintained by an unconventional arrangement: Melinda can have as many lovers as she wants as long as she doesn't drag them and her daughter into the chaos of a divorce. Everything seems fine, but as time goes by, Vic starts to get annoyed with the men chosen by his wife and adopts an unusual strategy to scare them away, assuming responsibility for the murder of one of them. But the news spreads and the former model citizen, benefactor, more than tolerant husband and selfless entrepreneur becomes the target of everyone's slander.
Everything led to believe that life would return to normal when a real murderer is discovered, but the revelation of Vic's lie is the trigger for a reversal in his own convictions and in the relationships he maintains with the community, with friends and with Melinda and her various lovers. What is created is an intricate plot, full of secrets, psychological manipulation and blood.
Highsmith is known for intimately exploring the human psyche and its limits and In Deep Water again does a great job. The construction of the characters is remarkable, since Vic appears to be a tolerant guy, but inside there is a peaceful guy who lets himself be carried away by his wife's whims, and we discover throughout the events that it's not out of love, but out of lack. of courage to impose. Vic's lack of attitude makes it apparent that he is a guy being pushed to the limit and in these cases the only way out is always to get worse. On the other hand, Melinda is a woman who seems independent, but the meticulous construction of her features contrasts with Vic, raising her husband's attitudes by showing that she not only has a problem with staying faithful, but denies her daughter and turns everyone into doormat when you get a chance.
The book begins with a very simple story, compounded only by the polemics and extremely important appearances at the time it was written, and gradually becomes a bloody and complex plot. However, the real triumph is Vic's detailed analysis, which gradually transforms and leaves a gratifying feeling of mission completed when he reaches the peak of his personality. It's easy to relate to the anger that builds inside Vic each time he's belittled, showing how simple raising a sociopath can be — and happen to the least expected.
In Deep Water is another success by Patricia Highsmith that wonderfully analyzes the psychology of the human being and delivers a simple plot, but incredibly elevated by the intimacy of its characters.