Snail anecdotes contested

Marijane Meaker writes of her relationship with Patricia Highsmith in a memoir, Highsmith: A Romance of the 1950’s. Speaking with an interviewer, Meaker takes issue with some of the facts presented in a recent biography of Highsmith:

Much has been made of Highsmith’s “eccentricities”, such as how she would supposedly produce live snails from her purse in restaurants and place them on the table while she ate. “First of all, Pat hated purses . . . I know she had a snail as a pet at one point, but the whole story sounds very attention-seeking – which wasn’t the Pat I knew.” In fact, she doesn’t remember Highsmith as being eccentric. “Except,” she adds crisply, “if you want to call drunk eccentric.”

She frequently describes Highsmith as a “gentleman” and I ask her what she means. “If a woman came into the room, she would get up, grabbing the crease in her trousers, and she’d bow. It used to embarrass me and I said ‘Pat, you don’t have to do that’ and she said ‘Oh, it just comes automatically….'”

(Link via TMFTML.)

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