book cover of Tales of Natural and Unnatural Catastrophes

Tales of Natural and Unnatural Catastrophes

(1987)
A collection of stories by

 
 
Publisher's Weekly
Master storyteller Highsmith ( Mermaids on the Golf Course ) offers an eerily up-to-date collection of modern horror tales. On the cutting edge of technology are ''Operation Balsam; Or Touch Me Not,'' about the government's problems in disposing of nuclear waste and an ingenious bureaucrat's solution, and ''Rent-a-Womb vs. the Mighty Right,'' where surrogate mothers unionize and take on the religious fundamentalists. ''President Buck Jones Rallies and Waves the Flag'' culminates with the end of the world, while ''Trouble at Jade Towers'' embodies one of the city dweller's worst nightmaresenormous, unkillable roaches. Most of the stories take current trends to their logical and horrific conclusions, as in ''Sweet Freedom! And a Picnic on the White House Lawn,'' which concerns the wholesale release of ''harmless'' patients from mental institutions. Highsmith looks at our civilization with a remorseless eye. Almost anyone trying to change things for the better is destroyed, even the Pope in ''Sixtus VI, Pope of the Red Slipper,'' who is martyred trying to bring justice to the poor.

Library Journal
The richly imagined but brutal fables in Highsmith's newest collection are gothic horror tales mixed with a dash of macabre humor. One is a reprise of Moby Dick told from the furious whale's point of view; another shows scientists experimenting on cancer-ridden corpses. When the corpses are buried in the cemetery behind the hospital, enormous blobs of fungi grow from themeventually to become a great tourist attraction. For Naomi, 190 or 210 years old, there is truly ''No End in Sight.'' She is without one redeeming quality, prompting Highsmith to imply that it is too bad that ''they don't push the old folks over cliffs anymore.'' In Highsmith's grim, sardonic view, people pollute the earth and carry evil within them. Not for the squeamish or the escapist.Marcia Tager, Tenafly, N.J.


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Used availability for Patricia Highsmith's Tales of Natural and Unnatural Catastrophes

Hardback Editions

January 1989 : USA Hardback
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Title: Tales of Natural and Unnatural Catastrophes
Author(s): Patricia Highsmith
ISBN: 0-87113-251-6 / 978-0-87113-251-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Pr
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


October 1987 : UK Hardback
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Title: Tales of Natural and Unnatural Catastrophes
Author(s): Patricia Highsmith
ISBN: 0-7475-0097-5 / 978-0-7475-0097-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Paperback Editions

November 2011 : USA Paperback
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Title: Tales of Natural and Unnatural Catastrophes
Author(s): Patricia Highsmith
ISBN: 0-8021-4563-9 / 978-0-8021-4563-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Grove Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


February 2005 : UK Paperback
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Title: Tales of Natural and Unnatural Catastrophes
Author(s): Patricia Highsmith
ISBN: 0-7475-5435-8 / 978-0-7475-5435-6 (UK edition)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


January 1994 : USA Paperback
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Title: Tales of Natural and Unnatural Catastrophes
Author(s): Patricia Highsmith
ISBN: 0-87113-341-5 / 978-0-87113-341-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


November 1988 : UK Paperback
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Title: Tales of Natural and Unnatural Catastrophes
Author(s): Patricia Highsmith
ISBN: 0-413-18370-X / 978-0-413-18370-5 (UK edition)
Publisher: Methuen
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

November 2011 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: Tales of Natural and Unnatural Catastrophes
Author(s): Patricia Highsmith
Publisher: Grove Press
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA