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The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia…

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

by Patricia Highsmith

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3,5291001,498 (3.92)272
Title:The Talented Mr. Ripley
Authors:Patricia Highsmith
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Highsmith, American, Thriller, 20th Century, Ripley, fiction

Work details

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (1955)

  1. 00
    As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann (1Owlette)
    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)
  2. 11
    The Man Who Watched Trains Go By by Georges Simenon (thatguyzero)
  3. 00
    The Lying Tongue by Andrew Wilson (jonathankws)
  4. 12
    The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (JuliaMaria)
  5. 05
    Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey (wonderlake)
    wonderlake: Both Oscar and Ripley are afraid of water
  6. 29
    The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Wova4)
    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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» See also 272 mentions

English (89)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (3)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (100)
Showing 1-5 of 89 (next | show all)
This book right here has become a favorite of mine – it’s a pageturner, thriller, and travel memoir rolled into one. Tom Ripley is a young American who, upon the request of Mr. Greenleaf, sails off to Italy in search of the man’s son, Dickie Richard Greenleaf to convince him to return home. The mission is really quite simple, yet things take a turn for the worse when complications arise and Tom jealously attempts to resolve them through his own means.

Patricia Highsmith’s absolutely floored me with her ability to deconstruct Tom’s psyche, particularly his emotional processes. Tom is a meek, obsessive and underdeveloped man, and Highsmith fleshes him out with such accuracy that the reader comes to explore antithetical feelings of both sympathy and disgust towards the character. His thoughts and reasoning reflect his unresolved character flaws that propel the story forward, making even the most far-fetched aspects of the book believable.

Tom Ripley’s ventures across Italy paint this books’ settings as pleasant and romantic as an actual escape to the places he visits, such as Rome, Florence, and the beautiful waters of the Southern Italian countryside. Highsmith’s use of Italian words and sentences within the conversations held can be distracting for some, but for others a tasteful touch on the author’s part, coloring the pages vividly with Italian culture and mannerisms.

It’s certainly hard to praise the book without giving away spoilers, but I’ll say give the book a chance to unravel. Some readers may not stand Tom’s personality, but it is precisely what sets the ball in motion, resulting in plenty of plot twists and cliffhangers to leave anyone hooked.

If you want to read more of my reviews, check out my book blog! ( )
  themythbookshelf | Aug 9, 2015 |
I saw this movie maybe 15 years ago, I think in the theater, and had a co-worker give me an extended (and unwanted) literary breakdown of it, and Patricia Highsmith, a couple of years after that. I think that kept me from reading this until now (the second part, not the movie.) :)

Overall, I like this book a lot. First off, it is a fast read, very compact; this helps to keep the plot moving. I will say that in a few parts it did seem to repeat, even if not "dragging on." The Tom Ripley character is a true sociopath: not "psycho," just truly selfish, cut off from other people, inhuman even. Desperate. You can *almost* feel bad for him in little slices because he is a kind of monster, but also so pitiful.

I will say the Marge character annoyed me. In fact, even Mr. Greenleaf is annoying. This in part because everyone around Ripley is so... weak, so dim-witted. But then again, perhaps that is the point: we're inhabiting the world through Ripley's eyes. In any case, for me this was a bit of an issue because it stretched credulity: Ripley get's away with things again and again; people are blind to him again and again.

Which isn't entirely true, I suppose... he does have to eliminate a person (avoiding spoilers). But that goes off without a hitch.

Anyway, I started by saying I liked this a lot. These are my complaints, but I *still* liked this very much, and recommend it! ( )
1 vote dcunning11235 | Jun 19, 2015 |
No puedo creer que escriba esto , pero la película con Matt Damon fue mil veces mejor que el libro . ( )
  LaMala | Jun 7, 2015 |
The Talented Mr. Ripley has been languishing on my shelves for a number of years, and the #1955book challenge led me to pull it off the bookcase. Thankfully, I forgot a great deal of the Matt Damon/Jude Law version of the movie as I settled into the story, but even knowing the story did not keep me from being surprised by the novel.

Tom Ripley is a young American of modest means with some sort of background as a con artist whom we meet in New York City in a bar where he is approached by the industrialist father of Dickie Greenleaf. Mr. Gleenleaf the father hires Tom to travel to Italy to convince his wayward son to return to the United States to take his place in the family boat-building business and be closer to his ailing mother. The rest of the book details Ripley's adventures and crimes in Italy.

What most impressed me was the tone: I was in the head of one of the strangest characters I've read about, and it was profoundly disturbing and at times seemed utterly normal. I was also impressed that I didn't grow bored of the rich-expatriates in southern-Europe storyline which I've found tiresome in other stories. Ripley is fascinating, and the pacing and the plotting he takes on were quite intricate. I'm also a fan of briefer books, and the length of this one felt much shorter than contemporary books I typically read.

All in all, this was a good foray into a more classic story: the psychological work, the creepiness of the plotting: this book stood out a lot more than the only other Highsmith I have read.

Other reviews appear in Yet Another Crime Fiction Blog, Past Offences, and Existential Ennui (lots of old covers in this post).

I bought my copy of the book.
1 vote rkreish | Mar 13, 2015 |
It is rare to have vastly differing opinions on one book, but not unknown to our group … and
something that Highsmith’s Mr Ripley managed this month. Denise found that the constant, repetitive internal dialogue of the main character (Mr Ripley himself) tediously dull and uninspiring. She felt the description of another hotel room, restaurant, train trip etc … would send her over the edge! Not only did she not like Mr Ripley, she had no interest in what would befall him (or those around him) next.
In direct contrast was Anne who thought the whole story clever … a psychological thriller that held her throughout the entire book. The impending likelihood that Ripley would be caught kept the reader in a perpetual state of speculation and doubt.
The perfect result for such a novel.

Other comments tended towards the positive. Some found it ‘quirky and funny’, others thought the sense of place was wonderfully done, bringing Venice in particular alive. We managed to do quite a good job of psychoanalysing Mr Ripley and although we considered him a most unhealthy individual, we mostly agreed that he was not a completely ruthless psychopath. More like your average everyday schizophrenic who sees no obstacle too difficult on the way to his aim. Would he have killed Dickie if the need had not presented itself? This is something we, as mere readers will never know, but the odds are good and thankfully, for those of us who want more of Mr Ripley, Highsmith has provided such through two more Ripley adventures – Ripley Under Water and The Boy who Followed Ripley. ( )
1 vote DaptoLibrary | Feb 23, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (21 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.
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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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


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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:57 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

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

(summary from another edition)

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