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The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia…
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The Talented Mr. Ripley (original 1955; edition 2008)

by Patricia Highsmith

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,340941,627 (3.91)251
Member:hiddenpunk
Title:The Talented Mr. Ripley
Authors:Patricia Highsmith
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Highsmith, American, Thriller, 20th Century, Ripley, fiction

Work details

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (1955)

Recently added byAnthonyTFS, DaptoLibrary, private library, AntT, leselotte, Michele5, leahbirdwishes, stevengolson
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    1Owlette: Similarities in the unreliable perspective and opacity of the main characters, who also share common ground in their sexual and violent tendencies. In other ways, these are very different reads, with Highsmith adopting a very detached, effectively estranging tone for Ripley. As Meat Loves Salt, moreover, covers a much broader canvas.… (more)
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    wonderlake: Both Oscar and Ripley are afraid of water
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    Wova4: The GwtDT reminded me of the character Ripley, who is very much a morally ambiguous protagonist with a complicated psychology.
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English (84)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (94)
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
There is something admirable about a job well done, regardless of whether it was due to the skill of its executor or just a series of coincidental opportunities, something akin to an accidental Rube Goldberg machine. This is the feeling I got from the protagonist's series of escalating crimes and his ability to shirk off all suspicions. What makes this novel a very different read from general murder-mysteries and bad-guys-as-good-guys genres is that you are neither cheering the protagonist on, nor wishing terribly for his downfall. There is a certain detachment between the reader and the novel which is probably the one that he intends, to separate us and also his responsibilities from his actions.

As well as its premise which I presume to be original in its time, the novel is an interesting insight into a variety of negativity - self-loathing, self-righteousness, low self-esteem - which everyone has felt at some time but magnified here in a darkly humorous fashion. However, it disappoints by revealing the prejudices of its time with its homosexuality-as-deviance stereotype. (one and a half star off) ( )
  kitzyl | Jan 24, 2015 |
I truly admire how the author, with artful understatement, generates suspense even though I knew from the very beginning of the story that Tom Ripley would get away scot-free no matter what heinous acts he would perpetrate. How did I know this? (I haven't seen the movie) Because anyone who searches for this book will see that there are sequels that feature this character (and therefore I don't consider this disclosure a spoiler). Still, I read on with great anticipation to the end. This truly is an example of great writing.

Some might find the ending a bit anti-climatic, but knowing there were sequels, I expected something of that nature.

Highsmith does a great job of making Ripley a sympathetic character. Although reviewers have referred to him as a sociopath, this is not an accurate label, (having recently read up on this subject myself), in that he does not fit that profile, namely an extroverted, dynamic, self-confident charming individual totally lacking empathy for others. Risk-taking, impulsiveness, and a mastery over fear are certainly among his attributes. but he is basically a shy person with low self-esteem who would rather be someone else other than Tom Ripley. Despite what he does, I found myself feeling for him, and disliking the other characters that surround him - again I attribute this to the skill of the author because the other characters were not necessarily odious.

I loved this book and I enjoyed reading it. One caveat, however. It is quite clear that the narrative is from Ripley's perspective throughout the whole book, and so there was no need whatsoever to end any sentence, "..Tom thought, which breaks the flow of an otherwise fluid prose and unfortunately this occurs numerous times.
Other than that, I have no qualms about recommending this book to other readers who enjoy suspense and roguish characters.
( )
  BBcummings | Dec 24, 2014 |
Tom Ripley calculated murder like a mathematician solving a difficult proof; with painstaking precision he scratched to uncover his way into a power. He imagines someday being tied to the power brokers. He imagines one day from being able to pay off his creditors. Then the unexpected happens, a rich man with a favor sends Tom packing to Europe. As Shakespeare said, “Some are born with it; others are propelled into by life’s allegiances and currents.”(Paraphrased for Emphasis) Tom was the type that has been pushed forward by his unexpected involvement with the rich expatriates hanging out in the 1950’s Post-War Europe. A perfect place for those seeking exile outside of the policed 1950’s U.S.A. Will he get away from the swift and shocking events that have propelled his life forward? Patricia Highsmith asks, “Does life deal out just desserts? Do we get what we deserve; is there a law of karma?
I enjoyed this book a lot. Although at times I had a hard time suspending disbelief. I do not think that Tom would find it today so easy to cover up his steps. This disbelief kept me from enjoying it to the fullest.
The book also reminded me a lot of a modern adaptation, “American Psycho” by Brett Easton Ellis. I wonder if Tom Ripley is one of the sources for Ellis’s character Jason Bateman. The book is a classic example of the Anti-Hero in American Literature.
( )
  Gregorio_Roth | Dec 5, 2014 |
Tom Ripley calculated murder like a mathematician solving a difficult proof; with painstaking precision he scratched to uncover his way into a power. He imagines someday being tied to the power brokers. He imagines one day from being able to pay off his creditors. Then the unexpected happens, a rich man with a favor sends Tom packing to Europe. As Shakespeare said, “Some are born with it; others are propelled into by life’s allegiances and currents.”(Paraphrased for Emphasis) Tom was the type that has been pushed forward by his unexpected involvement with the rich expatriates hanging out in the 1950’s Post-War Europe. A perfect place for those seeking exile outside of the policed 1950’s U.S.A. Will he get away from the swift and shocking events that have propelled his life forward? Patricia Highsmith asks, “Does life deal out just desserts? Do we get what we deserve; is there a law of karma?
I enjoyed this book a lot. Although at times I had a hard time suspending disbelief. I do not think that Tom would find it today so easy to cover up his steps. This disbelief kept me from enjoying it to the fullest.
The book also reminded me a lot of a modern adaptation, “American Psycho” by Brett Easton Ellis. I wonder if Tom Ripley is one of the sources for Ellis’s character Jason Bateman. The book is a classic example of the Anti-Hero in American Literature.
( )
  Gregorio_Roth | Dec 5, 2014 |
The potential for this book was there, for sure. It could have been something great. Instead, it was merely marginal. We follow Tom Ripley as his sociopathic tendencies lead him to commit crimes from insurance fraud to murder and yet the writing is that of a rather dull newspaper article on some foreign policy issue. Some bits of interesting paragraphs, but generally not that riveting. ( )
  Rosenstern | Sep 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Highsmith, Patriciaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Prestini, Maria GraziaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walz, MelanieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Tom glanced behind him and saw the man coming out of the Green Cage, heading his way.
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Tom writhed in his deck chair as he thought of it, but he writhed elegantly, adjusting the crease of his trousers.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Plein Soleil is the French name for The Talented Mr. Ripley. A film version of the same name made in 1960 starred Alain Delon.
Haiku summary
Tom's deadly passage
He wants to help Dickie now
Into the next life

(amweb)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679742298, Paperback)

One of the great crime novels of the 20th century, Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley is a blend of the narrative subtlety of Henry James and the self-reflexive irony of Vladimir Nabokov. Like the best modernist fiction, Ripley works on two levels. First, it is the story of a young man, Tom Ripley, whose nihilistic tendencies lead him on a deadly passage across Europe. On another level, the novel is a commentary on fictionmaking and techniques of narrative persuasion. Like Humbert Humbert, Tom Ripley seduces readers into empathizing with him even as his actions defy all moral standards.

The novel begins with a play on James's The Ambassadors. Tom Ripley is chosen by the wealthy Herbert Greenleaf to retrieve Greenleaf's son, Dickie, from his overlong sojourn in Italy. Dickie, it seems, is held captive both by the Mediterranean climate and the attractions of his female companion, but Mr. Greenleaf needs him back in New York to help with the family business. With an allowance and a new purpose, Tom leaves behind his dismal city apartment to begin his career as a return escort. But Tom, too, is captivated by Italy. He is also taken with the life and looks of Dickie Greenleaf. He insinuates himself into Dickie's world and soon finds that his passion for a lifestyle of wealth and sophistication transcends moral compunction. Tom will become Dickie Greenleaf--at all costs.

Unlike many modernist experiments, The Talented Mr. Ripley is eminently readable and is driven by a gripping chase narrative that chronicles each of Tom's calculated maneuvers of self-preservation. Highsmith was in peak form with this novel, and her ability to enter the mind of a sociopath and view the world through his disturbingly amoral eyes is a model that has spawned such latter-day serial killers as Hannibal Lecter. --Patrick O'Kelley

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:17 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

The cunning schemes of a young American ne'er-do-well, who travels to Italy on an unusual assignment.

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