Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Price of Salt (1952)

Brad Phillips is a reader of Patricia Highsmith (above is a reproduction of his painting One Month of Reading in the Mirror, 2007). I am sure Brad is a big enough fan to know that Highsmith wrote The Price of Salt (1952) under the pseudonym Claire Morgan.

The Price of Salt is that rare breed: a lesbian novel with a happy ending.

Below is the first paragraph of the opening chapter:

Therese ate nervously, with the "Welcome to Frankenberg" booklet propped up in front of her against a sugar container. She had read the thick booklet through last week, in the first day of training class, but she had nothing else with her to read, and in the coworkers' cafeteria, she felt it necessary to concentrate on something. So she read again about vacation benefits, the three weeks' vacation given to people who had worked fifteen years at Frankenberg's, she ate the hot plate special of the day--a grayish slice of roast beef with a ball of mashed potatoes covered with brown gravy, a heap of peas, and a tiny paper cup of horseradish. She tried to imagine what it would be like to have worked fifteen years in Frankenberg's department store, and she found she was unable to. "Twenty-five Yearers" got four weeks' vacation, the booklet said. Frankenberg's also provided a camp for summer and winter vacationers. They should have a church, too, she thought, and a hospital for the birth of babies. The store was organized so much like a prison, it frightened her now and then to realize she was a part of it.

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