‘Like getting you a job? Close the door, Phil.’
The way she said the last words hurt Carter more than anything else she had said. She was in complete possession of herself, and thinking of Timmie’s sleep, of course, thinking of Timmie overhearing some of this. Carter closed the door slowly, resting both hands on the knob, and pondered the terrible efficiency of women: Hazel running the house in Fremont and slaving in a dress shop at the same time, Hazel being quite a good mother to Timmie, Hazel going to school and getting a master’s degree, Hazel keeping Sullivan happy and on the string all this time, Hazel – up to now – keeping him happy, too.
‘Thanks.’ She glanced at him sharply.
Carter felt then that she actually disliked him, that she disliked the person he had become after prison, perhaps. Certainly she hadn’t disliked him before. He had a feeling of being swept away, annihilated physically. It lasted only a few seconds. He wiped a hand across his forehead and faced her.
Gripping stuff. It's one of those were Highsmith shows the reader exactly what's going on with the characters and you just want to shake them.
The grooming, the deceit, the descend of all of them into some sort of private hell.
This is very much like all of the Highsmith stories I really like, and yet I have no idea how this is going to play out.
And I love again, that she's chosen to set this gritty story among "polite society". I can just imagine Highsmith smirking at how this would have unsettled the perfect world of pretense.