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On a long and monotonous day, working in the toy department of the department store, Therese becomes interested in a customer, an elegant and beautiful woman in her early thirties.The woman, Carol Aird, gives Therese her address to have her purchases delivered.Playwright Phyllis Nagy, who met Highsmith in 1987 and developed a friendship with her that lasted for the remainder of Highsmith's life, said that Therese was Highsmith's "alter ego" and "the voice of an author." Highsmith placed Therese in the world of the New York theater with friends who are "vaguely bohemian, artists or would-be artists" and signaled their intellectual aspirations by noting they read James Joyce and Gertrude Stein, the latter unmistakably lesbian.All are struggling to find a place for themselves in the world.They part, each headed for a different evening engagement.Therese, after a brief flirtation with an English actress that leaves her ashamed, quickly reviews her relationships —"loneliness swept over her like a rushing wind"— and goes to find Carol, who greets her more eagerly than ever before.The Price of Salt (later republished under the title Carol) is a 1952 romance novel by Patricia Highsmith, first published under the pseudonym "Claire Morgan".Highsmith—known as a suspense writer based on her psychological thriller Strangers on a Train—used an alias because she did not want to be tagged as "a lesbian-book writer", and because of the use of her own life references for characters and occurrences in the story.

It is also notable for being the only one of her novels with not only "a conventional 'happy ending Therese Belivet is a lonely young woman, just beginning her adult life in Manhattan and looking for her chance to launch her career as a theatre set designer.The first working title of the novel (written in her "cahier" No. Other names Highsmith later considered were "The Argument of Tantalus", "Blasphemy of Laughter", and "Paths of Lightening" before finally naming it The Price of Salt.Highsmith said that she settled on the title from a thought about the price paid by Lot's wife when she looked back towards Sodom.As usual, I went home after work to my apartment, where I lived alone.That evening I wrote out an idea, a plot, a story about the blondish and elegant woman in the fur coat.

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It was a routine transaction, the woman paid and departed.

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