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The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955)

by Patricia Highsmith

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Tom Ripley (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,4251751,542 (3.92)422
In a chilling literary hall of mirrors, Patricia Highsmith introduces Tom Ripley.  Like a hero in a latter-day Henry James novel, is sent to Italy with a commission to coax a prodigal young American back to his wealthy father. But Ripley finds himself very fond of Dickie Greenleaf. He wants to be like him--exactly like him.  Suave, agreeable, and utterly amoral, Ripley stops at nothing--certainly not only one murder--to accomplish his goal.  Turning the mystery form inside out, Highsmith shows the terrifying abilities afforded to a man unhindered by the concept of evil.… (more)
Recently added byJoeB1934, nickrowe, Arina8888, AAGP
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    Vulco1: Guys using charm to get what they want and climb some ladders. Crime. some sort of mental "stuff" going on with the main characters. Adapted from books to movies and tv shows. Female authors. Would recommend to a lot of people
  6. 01
    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)
  7. 02
    You by Caroline Kepnes (Vulco1)
    Vulco1: Guys using charm to get what they want and climb some ladders. Crime. some sort of mental "stuff" going on with the main characters. Adapted from books to movies and tv shows. Female authors. Would recommend to a lot of people.
  8. 05
    The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (JuliaMaria)
  9. 06
    Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey (wonderlake)
    wonderlake: Both Oscar and Ripley are afraid of water
  10. 211
    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.
1950s (57)
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» See also 422 mentions

English (159)  Spanish (6)  Dutch (4)  Italian (2)  French (1)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (174)
Showing 1-5 of 159 (next | show all)
DNF at 40%

I just couldn’t go on with this one. Definitely not for me. Maybe I’m not intelligent enough, I don’t know. But this didn’t hold my attention at all for one single moment. ( )
  tonimeter | May 13, 2022 |
I really liked this book and look forward to reading or listening to the next one. ( )
  KyleneJones | Apr 25, 2022 |
Mesmerized and Seduced to Reading It to the End

From the very beginning of the novel, Tom Ripley reveals himself to be a criminal. He commits fraud just for the fun of it and gets away with it. The fact that he does get away with the fraud only contributes to his arogance and hubris: he believes he can outsmart those who pursue him for his crimes. Of course, he does carry a little anxiety because he has to realize that it is POSSIBLE that he could get caught, but he does not feel enough trepidation to keep him from his criminal ways and outrageous actions. He moves forward, confident that he has outwitted others every step of the way, carefully analyzing what he has done, what could happen, and what will be necessary for him to escape capture.
At no point does he feel any remorse for the crimes he has committed or the suffering he has left behind. He dispassionately does what he does and follows the crimes with equal dispassionate disregard for his actions.
The book reminds me of the great Dostoyevsky novel Crime and Punishment wherein the central character commits a murder simply because he believes he can get away with it. In that novel, it is conscience that finally undoes the main character, but Ripley is not burdened with a conscience or remorse.
The novel itself moves rather slowly, seducing the reader onward rather than propelling forward motion through a more lively plot. I came to a point where I almost abandoned the book but moved a little further into the book and soon found I could not abandon the book after all.
There are quite a few coincidences and happenstances in the book that strained its credibility, some of those are necessary in any suspense novel, of course, but there did seems to be quite a few in this one. Still, they did not keep me from wanting to finish the book, accepting these contrived circumstances as being necessary for the plot.
Overall, this book has enough to recommend it to make it so popular even today, over half a century after it first appeared. ( )
  PaulLoesch | Apr 2, 2022 |
Slow start and definitely a product of its time, but the suspense and 'will he be caught? will he get away with it?' made for a fun vacation read. Now to watch the Matt Damon film and see how well it translated to the screen. ( )
  BritishKoalaTea | Mar 1, 2022 |
A tense and twisty thriller about a seemingly ordinary psychopath. Patricia Highsmith immediately lets the reader know that Tom Ripley, a insignificant man barely making ends meet and sponging off his “friends”, is up to no good. He’s paranoid about being followed, and his paranoia is somewhat justified as he is running a minor scam. He doesn’t even make any money–the thrill of successfully pulling off a con seems to be motivation enough. He lucks into an even better opportunity, as wealthy businessman Mr. Greenleaf sends him on an all-expenses paid trip to Europe to convince his son, Dickie, to come back to America. Because of the well-known movie, the way the plot unspools is probably known–Tom becomes obsessed with Dickie and his easy life in Italy, but when his new happiness is threatened, he goes to extreme lengths to protect it.

I never fully sympathized with Tom–honestly not because he’s a sociopathic murderer but because he’s so petty and judgmental. Still, he was fun to read about, as he continually gets into risky situations but manages to avoid detection. Also, weirdly enough, if you put aside the murdering and crimes, Tom seems like he could be the protagonist of a contemporary novel–the awkward underdog who might have a happier ending or continually be subjected to ordinary misery. He’s uncomfortable around the wealthy and confident but can sometimes put on a good show, which tires him out. He is frequently shown as the awestruck tourist–always wanting to go on trips, excited over books and art, and worrying about whether something is too “touristy”. His sadness and hurt over covert rejection can be sympathetic, although he tends to react in boundary-breaking and highly emotional ways (in addition to the murdering). There is also the fact that his character is coded as gay–it’s directly mentioned, and although Tom denies it, the issue is a major wedge between Dickie and his friends. There are enough clues to conclude that Dickie is also gay, which could partially explain his rejection of Tom. However, although this could suggest that Tom is an example of the “evil gay/bisexual” stereotype, he has plenty of reasons for his actions: class is an ever-present issue, he had an unhappy childhood growing up with his unpleasant aunt and he seems to be misanthropic in general. The ending was great, as HIghsmith has a number of tropes and set-ups that usually go one way but end up in a different place here. A definite page turner–I’ll be looking for further Ripley books. ( )
5 vote DieFledermaus | Jan 4, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 159 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (90 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Highsmith, Patriciaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Banville, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burns, TomIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ingendaay, PaulAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prestini, Maria GraziaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walz, MelanieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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First words
Tom glanced behind him and saw the man coming out of the Green Cage, heading his way.
Quotations
Tom writhed in his deck chair as he thought of it, but he writhed elegantly, adjusting the crease of his trousers.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In a chilling literary hall of mirrors, Patricia Highsmith introduces Tom Ripley.  Like a hero in a latter-day Henry James novel, is sent to Italy with a commission to coax a prodigal young American back to his wealthy father. But Ripley finds himself very fond of Dickie Greenleaf. He wants to be like him--exactly like him.  Suave, agreeable, and utterly amoral, Ripley stops at nothing--certainly not only one murder--to accomplish his goal.  Turning the mystery form inside out, Highsmith shows the terrifying abilities afforded to a man unhindered by the concept of evil.

No library descriptions found.

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

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