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The Talented Mr. Ripley Paperback – June 17, 2008
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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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“[Highsmith] has created a world of her own―a world claustrophobic and irrational which we enter each time with a sense of personal danger.” (Graham Greene)
“Mesmerizing... a Ripley novel is not to be safely recommended to the weak-minded or impressionable.” (Washington Post Book World)
“The most sinister and strangely alluring quintet the crime-fiction genre has ever produced.” (Mark Harris - Entertainment Weekly)
“Highsmith's subversive touch is in making the reader complicit with Ripley's cold logic.” (Daily Telegraph (UK))
“[Highsmith] forces us to re-evaluate the lines between reason and madness, normal and abnormal, while goading us into sharing her treacherous hero's point of view.” (Michiko Kakutani - New York Times)
“[Tom Ripley] is as appalling a protagonist as any mystery writer has ever created.” (Newsday)
“Savage in the way of Rabelais or Swift.” (Joyce Carol Oates - New York Review of Books)
“For eliciting the menace that lurks in familiar surroundings, there's no one like Patricia Highsmith.” (Time)
“Murder, in Patricia Highsmith's hands, is made to occur almost as casually as the bumping of a fender or a bout of food poisoning. This downplaying of the dramatic... has been much praised, as has the ordinariness of the details with which she depicts the daily lives and mental processes of her psychopaths. Both undoubtedly contribute to the domestication of crime in her fiction, thereby implicating the reader further in the sordid fantasy that is being worked out.” (Robert Towers - New York Review of Books)
Top Customer Reviews
For a good old fashioned, up all night, reading marathon, you can't go far wrong with this anthology. If you enjoy the feelings of hope, excitement, dispair, fear and loss then you'll love this compilation. Having read all the Tom Ripley novels, the only dissapointment I have is that there are no more.
A mystery novel that discloses the identity of the murderer may create tension by dealing with the question whether other characters, such as a law enforcement officer or a spouse, will learn the identity of the murderer. The first book contains considerable dramatic tension of this type, but the second two contain considerably less (especially for the reader familiar with the Ripley series).
The strange appeal of these novels--especially the latter two--lies more in their overall lack of dramatic tension. In the second and third books, Ripley's easy, cultured life invites the reader to relax, perhaps brew himself or herself a cup of tea, and, above all, let his or her guard down. Never mind that the purpose of a quick trip is murder most foul; Ripley never lacks the time to pick up a tasteful gift for Heloise, his wife. Never mind that Ripley and a friend must dispose quickly of bodies; Ripley never lacks the time to prepare (true, in this instance, hastily) a sumptuous meal after the murders.
As unusual as these books are in their lack of dramatic tension, they are even more unusual in their presentation of Ripley. Many reviews describe him as amoral. He is amoral, but only if that word permits one to display some morals. In the second and third books, Ripley emerges as a person who is deeply in love with, and committed to, his wife.Read more ›
Onother highlight of the novel is its fabulous settings: Southern Italy has never looked so beautiful along with Venice, Cannes, and Paris. This novel makes for an extremely exotic, fascinating read and it also works as a wonderful portrait of a figure who has strangely removed himself from others and from society. Patricia Highsmith manages to embody the spirit of Italy while at the same time writing a terrific suspense thriller.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've re-read this book more than once, and no doubt, I will read it again. It's that good.Published 1 hour ago by Richard Thomas
I doubt that I will ever like another antiheroe as much as Tom Ripley. Maybe Dorian Gray? Almost.
Tom Ripley is sent to Europe by Mr. Read more
A true noire classic. A creepy protagonist portrayed with great insight and sensitivity.Published 2 months ago by Marty Babits
Talented Tom Ripley is. He has a facility for languages, art appreciation and deception. Charming Tom Ripley is not. Full marks to Highsmith for avoiding that trap. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Lesley Jenkins
(I'm 14 writing this on my mom's account)
I absolutely loved this book. My mom bought it for me to compare to Macbeth, and unlike a lot of the Romeo and Juliet spinoffs... Read more
Thomas Ripley is a petulant, emotionally stunted young man with a victim mentality, a colossal inferiority complex, and uncontrollable feelings of resentment and envy. Read morePublished 3 months ago by A. Diamond