Pub. Date:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
The Talented Mr. Ripley

The Talented Mr. Ripley

by Patricia Highsmith
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"Tom Ripley is one of the most interesting characters in world literature." —Anthony Minghella, director of the 1999 film The Talented Mr. Ripley

Since his debut in 1955, Tom Ripley has evolved into the ultimate bad boy sociopath. Here, in the first Ripley novel, we are introduced to suave Tom Ripley, a young striver, newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan. A product of a broken home, branded a "sissy" by his dismissive Aunt Dottie, Ripley meets a wealthy industrialist who hires him to bring his playboy son, Dickie Greenleaf, back from gallivanting in Italy. Soon Ripley's fascination with Dickie's debonair lifestyle turns obsessive as he finds himself enraged by Dickie's ambivalent affections for Marge, a charming American dilettante. A dark reworking of Henry James's The Ambassadors, The Talented Mr. Ripley serves as an unforgettable introduction to this smooth confidence man, whose talent for murder and self-invention is chronicled in four subsequent Ripley novels.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393332148
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 06/28/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 36,040
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Patricia Highsmith (1921–1995) was the author of more than twenty novels, including Strangers on a Train, The Price of Salt,The Blunderer and The Talented Mr. Ripley, as well as numerous short stories.

Date of Birth:

January 19, 1921

Date of Death:

February 4, 1995

Place of Birth:

Fort Worth, Texas

Place of Death:

Locarno, Switzerland


B.A., Barnard College, 1942

Read an Excerpt

Tom glanced behind him and saw the man coming out of the Green Cage, heading his way. Tom walked faster. There was no doubt the man was after him. Tom had noticed him five minutes ago, eyeing him carefully from a table, as if he weren't quite sure, but almost. He had looked sure enough for Tom to down his drink in a hurry, pay and get out.

At the corner Tom leaned forward and trotted across Fifth Avenue. There was Raoul's. Should he take a chance and go in for another drink? Tempt fate and all that? Or should he beat it over to Park Avenue and try losing him in a few dark doorways? He went into Raoul's.

Automatically, as he strolled to an empty space at the bar, he looked around to see if there was anyone he knew. There was the big man with red hair, whose name he always forgot, sitting at a table with a blonde girl. The red-haired man waved a hand, and Tom's hand went up limply in response. He slid one leg over a stool and faced the door challengingly, yet with a flagrant casualness.

'Gin and tonic, please,' he said to the barman.

Was this the kind of man they would send after him? Was he, wasn't he, was he? He didn't look like a policeman or a detective at all. He looked like a businessman, somebody's father, well-dressed, well-fed, greying at the temples an air of uncertainty about him. Was that the kind they sent on a job like this, maybe to start chatting with you in a bar, and then bang! — the hand on the shoulder, the other hand displaying a policeman's badge. Torn Ripley, you're under arrest. Tom watched the door.

Here he came. The man looked around, saw him and immediately looked away. He removed his straw hat, and took a place around the curve of the bar.

My God, what did he want? He certainly wasn't a pervert, Tom thought for the second time, though now his tortured brain groped and produced the actual word, as if the word could protect him, because he would rather the man be a pervert than a policeman. To a pervert, he could simply say, 'No, thank you,' and smile and walk away. Tom slid back on the stool, bracing himself.

Tom saw the man make a gesture of postponement to the barman, and come around the bar towards him. Here it was! Tom stared at him, paralysed. They couldn't give you more than ten years, Tom thought. Maybe fifteen, but with good conduct—In the instant the man's lips parted to speak, Tom had a pang of desperate, agonized regret.

'Pardon me, are you Tom Ripley?'


'My name is Herbert Greenleaf. Richard Greenleaf's father.' The expression on his face was more confusing to Tom than if he had focused a gun on him. The face was friendly, smiling and hopeful. 'You're a friend of Richard's, aren't you?'

It made a faint connection in his brain. Dickie Greenleaf. A tall blond fellow. He had quite a bit of money, Tom remembered. 'Oh, Dickie Greenleaf. Yes.'

'At any rate, you know Charles and Marta Schriever. They're the ones who told me about you, that you might—uh—Do you think we could sit down at a table?'

'Yes,' Tom said agreeably, and picked up his drink. He followed the man towards an empty table at the back of the little room. Reprieved, he thought. Free! Nobody was going to arrest him. This was about something else. No matter what it was, it wasn't grand larceny or tampering with the mails or whatever they called it. Maybe Richard was in some kind of jam. Maybe Mr Greenleaf wanted help, or advice. Tom knew just what to say to a father like Mr Greenleaf.

'I wasn't quite sure you were Tom Ripley,' Mr Greenleaf said. 'I've seen you only once before, I think. Didn't you come up to the house once with Richard?'

'I think I did.'

'The Schrievers gave me a description of you, too. We've all been trying to reach you, because the Schrievers wanted us to meet at their house. Somebody told them you went to the Green Cage bar now and then. This is the first night I've tried to find you, so I suppose I should consider myself lucky.' He smiled. 'I wrote you a letter last week, but maybe you didn't get it.'

'No, I didn't.' Marc wasn't forwarding his mail, Tom thought. Damn him. Maybe there was a cheque there from Auntie Dottie. 'I moved a week or so ago,' Tom added.

'Oh, I see. I didn't say much in my letter. Only that I'd like to see you and have a chat with you. The Schrievers seemed to think you knew Richard quite well.'

'I remember him, yes.'

'But you're not writing to him now?' He looked disappointed.

'No. I don't think I've seen Dickie for a couple of years.'

He's been in Europe for two years. The Schrievers spoke very highly of you, and thought you might have some influence on Richard if you were to write to him. I want him to come home. He has responsibilities here — but just now he ignores anything that I or his mother try to tell him.'

Tom was puzzled. 'Just what did the Schrievers say?'

'They said — apparently they exaggerated a little — that you and Richard were very good friends. I suppose they took it for granted you were writing him all along. You see, I know so few of Richard's friends any more—' He glanced at Tom's glass, as if he would have liked to offer him a drink, at least, but Tom's glass was nearly full.

Tom remembered going to a cocktail party at the Schrievers' with Dickie Greenleaf. Maybe the Greenleafs were more friendly with the Schrievers than he was, and that was how it had all come about, because he hadn't seen the Schrievers more than three or four times in his life. And the last time, Tom thought, was the night he had worked out Charley Schriever's income tax for him. Charley was a TV director, and he had been in a complete muddle with his free-lance accounts. Charley had thought he was a genius for having doped out his tax and made it lower than the one Charley had arrived at, and perfectly legitimately lower. Maybe that was what had prompted Charley's recommendation of him to Mr Greenleaf. Judging him from that night, Charley could have told Mr Greenleaf that he was intelligent, level-headed, scrupulously honest, and very willing to do a favour. It was a slight error.

'I don't suppose you know of anybody else close to Richard who might be able to wield a little influence?' Mr Greenleaf asked rather pitifully.

There was Buddy Lankenau, Tom thought, but he didn't want to wish a chore like this on Buddy. 'I'm afraid I don't,' Tom said, shaking his head. 'Why won't Richard come home?'

'He says he prefers living over there. But his mother's quite ill right now— Well, those are family problems. I'm sorry to annoy you like this.' He passed a hand in a distraught way over his thin, neatly combed grey hair. 'He says he's painting. There's no harm in that, but he hasn't the talent to be a painter. He's got great talent for boat designing, though, if he'd just put his mind to it.' He looked up as a waiter spoke to him. 'Scotch and soda, please. Dewar's. You're not ready?'

'No, thanks,' Tom said.

Mr Greenleaf looked at Tom apologetically. 'You're the first of Richard's friends who's even been willing to listen. They all take the attitude that I'm trying to interfere with his life.'

Tom could easily understand that. 'I certainly wish I could help,' he said politely. He remembered now that Dickie's money came from a shipbuilding company. Small sailing boats. No doubt his father wanted him to come home and take over the family firm. Tom smiled at Mr Greenleaf, meaninglessly, then finished his drink. Tom was on the edge of his chair, ready to leave, but the disappointment across the table was almost palpable. 'Where is he staying in Europe?' Tom asked, not caring a damn where he was staying.

'In a town called Mongibello, south of Naples. There's not even a library there, he tells me. Divides his time between sailing and painting. He's bought a house there. Richard has his own income—nothing huge, but enough to live on in Italy, apparently. Well, every man to his own taste, but I'm sure I can't see the attractions of the place.' Mr Greenleaf smiled bravely. 'Can't I offer you a drink, Mr Ripley?' he asked when the waiter came with his Scotch and soda.

Tom wanted to leave. But he hated to leave the man sitting alone with his fresh drink. 'Thanks, I think I will,' he said, and handed the waiter his glass.

'Charley Schriever told me you were in the insurance business,' Mr Greenleaf said pleasantly.

'That was a little while ago. I—' But he didn't want to say he was working for the Department of Internal Revenue, not now. 'I'm in the accounting department of an advertising agency at the moment.'


Neither said anything for a minute. Mr Greenleaf's eyes were fixed on him with a pathetic, hungry expression. What on earth could he say? Tom was sorry he had accepted the drink. 'How old is Dickie now, by the way?' he asked.

'He's twenty-five.'

So am I, Tom thought, Dickie was probably having the time of his life over there. An income, a house, a boat. Why should he want to come home? Dickie's face was becoming clearer in his memory: he had a big smile, blondish hair with crisp waves in it, a happy-go-lucky face. Dickie was lucky. What was he himself doing at twenty-five? Living from week to week. No bank account. Dodging cops now for the first time in his life. He had a talent for mathematics. Why in hell didn't they pay him for it, somewhere? Tom realized that all his muscles had tensed, that the matchcover in his fingers was mashed sideways, nearly flat. He was bored, God-damned bloody bored, bored, bored! He wanted to be back at the bar, by himself.

Tom took a gulp of his drink. 'I'd be very glad to write to Dickie, if you give me his address,' he said quickiy. 'I suppose he'll remember me. We were at a weekend party once out on Long Island, I remember. Dickie and I went out and gathered mussels, and everyone had them for breakfast.' Tom smiled. 'A couple of us got sick, and it wasn't a very good party. But I remember Dickie talking that week-end about going to Europe. He must have left just—'

'I remember!' Mr Greenleaf said. 'That was the last weekend Richard was here. I think he told me about the mussels.' He laughed rather loudly.

'I came up to your apartment a few times, too,' Tom went on, getting into the spirit of it. 'Dickie showed me some ship models that were sitting on a table in his room.'

'Those are only childhood efforts!' Mr Greenleaf was beaming. 'Did he ever show you his frame models? Or his drawings?'
Dickie hadn't, but Tom said brightly, 'Yes!  Of course he did. Pen-and-ink drawings. Fascinating, some of them.' Tom he'd never seen them, but he could see them now, precise draughtsman's drawings with every line and bolt and screw labelled, could see Dickie smiling, holding them up for him to look at, and he could have gone on for several minutes describing details for Mr Greenleaf's delight, but he checked himself.

'Yes, Richard's got talent along those lines,' Mr Greenleaf said with a satisfied air.

'I think he has,' Tom agreed. His boredom had slipped into another gear. Tom knew the sensations. He had them some-times at parties, but generally when he was having dinner with someone with whom he hadn't wanted to have dinner in the first place, and the evening got longer and longer. Now he could be maniacally polite for perhaps another whole hour, if he had to be, before something in him exploded and sent him running out of the door. 'I'm sorry I'm not quite free now or I'd be very glad to go over and see if I could persuade Richard myself. Maybe I could have some influence on him,' he said, just because Mr Greenleaf wanted him to say that.

'If you seriously think so — that is, I don't know if you're planning a trip to Europe or not.

'No, I'm not.'

'Richard was always so influenced by his friends. If you or somebody like you who knew him could get a leave of absence, I'd even send them over to talk to him. I think it'd be worth more than my going over, anyway. I don't suppose you could possibly get a leave of absence from your present job, could you?'

Tom's heart took a sudden leap. He put on an expression of reflection. It was a possibility. Something in him had smelt it out and leapt at it even before his brain. Present job: nil. He might have to leave town soon, anyway. He wanted to leave New York. 'I might,' he said carefully, with the same pondering expression, as if he were even now going over the thousands of little ties that could prevent him.

'If you did go, I'd be glad to take care of your expenses, that goes without saying. Do you really think you might be able to arrange it? Say, this fall?'

It was already the middle of September. Tom stared at the gold signet ring with the nearly worn-away crest on Mr Greenleaf's little finger. 'I think I might. I'd be glad to see Richard again—especially if you think I might be of some help.'

'I do! I think he'd listen to you. Then the mere fact that you don't know him very well— If you put it to him strongly why you think he ought to come home, he'd know you hadn't any axe to grind.' Mr Greenleaf leaned back in his chair, looking at Tom with approval. 'Funny thing is, Jim Burke and his wife—Jim's my partner—they went by Mon-gibello last year when they were on a cruise. Richard promised he'd come home when the winter began. Last winter. Jim's given him up. What boy of twenty-five listens to an old man sixty or more? You'll probably succeed where the rest of us have failed!'

'I hope so,' Tom said modestly.

'How about another drink? How about a nice brandy?'

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The Talented Mr. Ripley 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
Mr.Krinkle More than 1 year ago
Most stories need a hero and a villain. Mr. Tom Ripley is suprisingly both. A true gem is this novel. Pay close atenttion to the discrepencies that contrast book and movie. Ripley's sexualallity is not questionable (to me) - his threshold to avoid detection and capture are. Is there anything he won't or can't do? Balls to the wall! I have read over 120 books and this one has the most suspense.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The only bad thing is I saw this movie before I read the book so I knew what was going to happen. This was a great book and I love Patricia Highsmith's writing so easy yet elegant. There isn't really a bad thing about this book. I plan on reading the other 4 books connected to the ripley and you should to!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can barely ever find a book I like, and I almost cried when I finished this and it's two sequels. I usualy don't like anything remotely creepy, but I love this book. I have not seen The movie, and doubt completely that it does the book jus
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book at the beach over the long Memorial Day weekend. This is the first book I have read in a long time that I absolutely could NOT put down! Ms. Highsmith's ability to evoke vivid images with her compelling prose...magnificent! I have not seen the movie but I have heard that it is awful...not true to the book at all. That's a shame because the whole time I was reading the book I kept thinking how beautifully and easily it would adapt to a screenplay. Ms. Highsmith truly made me feel as if I were THERE with Tom in Italy. I read of Tom Ripley's sociopathic exploits with morbid fascination...this man was completely devoid of any morality whatsoever...and to think that Ms. Highsmith actually made me 'root' for him!!! I only have one thing to say...READ THIS BOOK!!
denmoir on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ripley is one of the great crime characters. He is at once repulsive and attractive. The stories are told from Ripley's viewpoint. He is the hero of an adventure story and it is hard not to wish him well
amerynth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved Patricia Highsmith's "The Talented Mr. Ripley"...which particularly surprised me because I didn't really enjoy the 1999 movie. The book is ever so much better.The book tells the story of Tom Ripley, a sort of con man who can't help but push his luck each time an opportunity presents itself. One of those opportunities comes from Mr. Greenleaf, an acquaintance's father who sends Tom to Italy in an attempt to convince Dickie Greenleaf to return home. Tom finds he enjoys living Dickie's life of leisure, so he puts his talents to use making sure nothing interferes with it.Highsmith has created an incredibly immoral character, that at the same time is likeable. As the consequences of Tom's actions start to trail him around Europe, you can't help but root for him a little bit. The book is really a page turner, in addition to being a fun read.I enjoyed this book so much, I definitely plan to read the other four books in the "Ripliad."
jonesli on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It is not often that one remains in suspense when it is known upfront who committed a murder and why. What had me on the edge of my seat was the sheer creepiness of the main character, Tom Ripley, and wondering if he would ever get caught. Tom travels to Italy after a chance meeting with Herbert Greenleaf, who is desperate enough to ask Tom to try and persuade his son Dickie to come home. Tom finds Dickie, strikes up a friendship, and then becomes just a tad obsessed with living Dickie's life.He kills his friend Dickie Greenleaf because he admires him, wants to be him, and then decides well heck, I'll just kill him and take over his identiy, travel throughout Europe and spend his trust fund.Some of the book was a bit drawn out, but overall I found it a fascinating account of the amoral justifications of a killer who believes he is entitled to whatever he wants by any means necessary.
NativeRoses on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a chilling portrayal of the mind of a young man becoming a serial killer. Paranoia, hypersensitivity, narcissism, entitlement, envy, longing, rage, and pain crowd the mind of Tom Ripley as he inserts himself into the lives of well-heeled acquaintances in southern Italy. His inadequacies and mis-readings of the people around him would be funny if they didn't create such pain in his life and eventually lead him to consider and then commit horrible crimes. This is a suspenseful, brilliant, chilling page-turner which I recommend highly.
Schmerguls on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book utterly caught me up after about 100 pages! It is the best argument I know for not giving up on a book which seems to be going nowhere for 100 pages. After the murder one is surprised to find one's attitude to the murderer. The book recalled my intense excitement when I read Crime and Punishment (22 Nov 1948) and one's reaction to the character as he seeks to escape detection. This book is so compelling I will have to read its sequel.
jwhenderson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The engaging novel, The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, is a quirky crime thriller. Highsmith dismisses with many of the traditional aspects of the crime thriller and presents the amoral criminal, one Tom Ripley, from the inside out. From the very first page of the novel you are sharing the thoughts of Tom as he looks over his shoulder expecting the police to emerge from the shadows to take him away. As the novel ends, he is still looking over his shoulder, so to speak, as he imagines the gendarmes awaiting at whatever European port he is approaching. In between the reader shares the roller coaster ride as this intriguing criminal assumes the identity of young American Dickie Greenleaf, an expatriate whom he has been sent to coax home by Greenleaf's father. Assuming Greenleaf's identity involves Tom in murder and more as he travels from Rome to Palermo to Venice to escape those searching for the missing American. Highsmith demonstrates both psychological acuity and brilliant logic in her portrayal of one of the most likable of amoral and irrational criminals ever imagined. Her writing style is superb and you are disappointed that the tale must end. Fortunately she went on to write four subsequent novels starring the talented Mr. Ripley.
Katie_H on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful suspense novel; I loved it! Tom Ripley is a pathetic young man, with few obvious opportunities ahead of him. Not surprisingly, he jumps at the chance to travel all expenses paid to Italy in order to convince an old school acquaintance, Dickie Greenleaf, to return to the states. While in Italy, he falls in love with Dickie's lifestyle, dreaming of the same thing for himself. Ripley pushes his way into Dickie's life, hoping to become the focus of his attention, but when Dickie becomes bored of him, Ripley murders him and assumes his identity. What makes the book so great is the way that the reader begins empathizing with Ripley, a morally repugnant sociopath, understanding the reasons behind his misdeeds, recongnizing the potential killer in all of us. As an added benefit, the book also serves nicely as an Italian travelogue. The movie is a faithful adaptation to the novel, so those having seen the movie already may be disappointed with the book, but I highly recommend it regardless.
Bookmarque on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love stories like this. The idle rich are fascinating because it¿s a world I¿ll most likely never know. Certainly I¿ll never know the world of transcontinental rail travel as it was done before the airplane. Same with the luxury cruises that Ripley takes on his quest. The gentility of it all; renting houses in Italy (complete with servants), being able to take off at a moment¿s notice to say, Paris. In the end, Tom succeeds in making people think Dickie committed suicide. When the fake will Tom typed himself is taken as genuine, he inherits everything Dickie had and can now truly live the life he took from Dickie.One thing that struck me as conflicting is the fact that while Tom does these things all right, he questions himself relentlessly and lives in fear afterward. He doesn¿t really like Dickie¿s girlfriend, but yet goes out of his way to accommodate her and keep her involved in what illegalities he has committed. It seems odd that for someone with such nerve, he should keep wondering about whether or not he¿s done the right thing and can get away with it.
wispywillow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I can't remember what picqued my interest to read this book. More than likely I checked it in or out at the library where I work and made a mental note to check it out. Years ago I saw the movie; I can't remember much about it other than my being rather creeped out by it.Welp... the book effectively creeped me out, too!For the most part, it seems the movie folowed the novel fairly well... at least to a point. I'll have to watch the movie again to be able to discuss that more accurately. While I read the book, I couldn't help but to picture Matt Damon as Tom Ripley, Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf, Gwyneth Paltrow as Marge Sherwood, and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Freddie Miles. I think they were cast well.This review is supposed to be about the book, not the movie; let me try to get back on track!Patricia Highsmith definitely did a good job of catching my attention and keeping me on the edge of my seat. I can't remember the last time a book held me in such suspense! Even to the very last page, I found myself wondering what was going to happen next.I'll definitely be reading the rest of the series!
ccayne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I felt compelled to broaden my education and read Patricia Highsmith and I chose her most well known book - I have not seen the movie. Boy, you do not want Mr. Ripley in your life. This is a chilling portrait of a psychopath who can change personas as it suits him, hence his talent, I guess. Highsmith is a restrained, disciplined writer as she reveals the unpleasant depths of Ripley's character. Although this was written in 1955, it did not feel at all dated to me. I suppose evil doesn't change much over time.
jasonpettus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being illegally reposted here.)The CCLaP 100: In which I attempt over the next two years to read a hundred so-called "classic" novels for the first time, then write reports on whether or not I think they deserve the labelThis week: "The Ripley Trilogy," by Patricia Highsmith (1955-1972)Review #5 of this essay seriesThe story in a nutshell:Known collectively as the "Ripley Trilogy," these three small novels by Patricia Highsmith tell the ongoing tale of one Tom Ripley, one of the more fascinating characters in the entirety of 20th-century literature. (And note, by the way, that Highsmith would go on to pen even two more books about Ripley after this original trilogy; the five-book series is now known by its fans as the "Ripliad.") Charming sociopath, vicious murderer, with a hyper-specific set of ethics that make sense only to him, Ripley and his exploits virtually defined the burgeoning "crime fiction" genre at its beginning, and helped define many of its standards right when it was just starting to become the marketplace juggernaut it still is in America and elsewhere.That said, I think most will agree that the original 1955 novel that started them all, The Talented Mr Ripley, is far and away the best of the entire series: a look at the young Ripley in his mid-twenties, heading to Europe for the first time, and the experiences that would turn him for good from a "harmless" sociopathic con-artist into the cold-blooded killer he is in the other four books. It's a great little story, in fact, that I won't get into detail concerning so as to not ruin it for you; a story that very clearly defines many of the aspects we now take so much for granted in crime fiction, wrapped in an ingeniously dark plot regarding resort-hopping in Europe with the jet-set during the aesthetic height of the Modernist era. In contrast, then, both Ripley Under Ground and Ripley's Game (set in the same 1970s when they were written) find Ripley himself at a softer middle-age, ensconced in small-town bourgeoisie French life and leaving the "action" part of the crime plots mostly up to others now.The argument for it being a classic:As you can probably guess, fans of the Ripley stories claim that they virtually defined the crime genre that now accounts for more book sales in the US than any other type of book that exists; as such, they argue, the books should rightly be considered classics, despite their relatively young age and genre status. And for sure, a different group of activists would argue, the original '55 Talented Mr Ripley was also one of the first mainstream American novels to tackle the issue of homosexuality in a complex and multifaceted way; indeed, Highsmith was known for this subject throughout the length of her career, as well as being a public and practicing bisexual in her real life. It's a stretch for now, even her fans concede, to consider these in the same breath as Great Expectations and the like; the main argument comes from her most diehard fans, frankly, and I think is more about trying to establish how the future and posterity are going to look at the series.The argument against:"Really? Crime books from the 1970s? Included in the classical canon of all Western Civilization? Seriously?" I think that's pretty much the main argument against these being a classic, summed up in a smartass nutshell -- that they are simply too new, concern too niche a subject, and in the end are simply not written well-enough to be seriously considered classics, or at least for now. As is the case with a lot of books on the CCLaP 100 list, in fact, even its critics I think would agree that the Ripley books are at least well-written, and still very entertaining to just sit down and read; a strong argument can be made, though, tha
technodiabla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I couldn't get interest in this book. The writing was fine, but not outstanding or particularly interesting. The plot was good enough (I did not finisht he book though), but not original or woven in a way that grabbed me. The characters were the biggest let down. Ripley should have been a fascinating psychological study but was actually very one dimensional. I just didn't care what happened to him-- and the murders didn't offend me or shock me or anything. I do agree that the book does not seem dated and has aged well. This might be a good airplane or vacation read but wasn't what I was hoping for personally.
KatherineGregg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved The Talented Mr. Ripley and am looking forward to reading the next four in the series. I was expecting a much longer book and was disappointed that I got through the book so quickly. Highsmith wrote beautifully and created believable, disturbing yet likeable protagonists. I just started Deep Water which is not part of the Ripley series but also features a pathological killer who appears somewhat normal on the outside but easily commits murder.
ConnieJo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is quite simply one of the best crime novels I've ever read. I thoroughly enjoyed every page of it, and it really surprised me since it changes tone several times throughout the story.The first part features Tom Ripley as an unemployed con artist with a somewhat bitter outlook on his life. To be fair, while he does con, he doesn't cash in on his cons, and he moves on to better things when the father of an acquaintance sends him to Europe to convince his son to come back and take over the family business.Then the second part of the novel starts, which is beautiful in its ability to portray awkward social situations extremely well. Tom Ripley finds his acquaintance (named Dickey) and goes through several phases of relationship with him while they live together, passing the time leisurely in a small town in Italy. A woman complicates things, and eventually things get worse and worse.Later, he strikes out on his own and lives the life of a comfortable heir with plenty of money and the ability to do basically whatever he wants. Later, things get bad while he has to weasel his way out of several bad situations.The character of Ripley himself was also a large part of why I enjoyed this so much. He's deranged in a not-quite-evil way, and you can see the logic behind everything he does. He's an extremely vivid character, and I'm more than willing to read the rest of the novels in the series just to see him in action again.
kraaivrouw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Some writers lead you gently into their plot & setting. They let you amble a bit, getting familiar with where you are & who you're with before they get down to business. It's like being at a cocktail party with a socially skilled hostess who escorts you, introduces you, & provides some conversation starters before leaving to fend for yourself. Patricia Highsmith is not interested in being a good hostess. In this book you are plopped down into Tom Ripley's world & essentially told to sink or swim. You should swim. It's an interesting world.I came to this book via the Anthony Minghella film. The film was wonderful in its own way - good acting, good writing, good setting, good music, great cinematography. I generally hate it when people turn books into movies because they often do it so poorly, but this is a good version of the book, although different in some aspects. The performance in the film that really sticks with me is that of Philip Seymour Hoffman as Freddie Miles - a minor character in the book who is more fleshed out in the movie to, I thought, good effect. Hoffman's entrance in the film is breathtaking - driving up in his fiat convertible, climbing out over the hood, all predatory sleaze & sexiness. Amazing.The thing the film does poorly is Tom Ripley. In the film, Tom kills Dickie Greenleaf because he is a closeted homosexual who has fallen in love with Dickie & Dickie rejects him. The plot diverges further by giving Tom a different (& true) male lover who he ends up having to kill because of his game of pretending to be Dickie Greenleaf. This makes for a nice tidy Hollywood story, but the real one, the story in the book is so much chillier & more real. You see, Tom doesn't kill Dickie because he wants to be with Dickie. Tom kills Dickie because he wants to BE Dickie - & he does it admirably well.Highsmith didn't believe in tidy moral endings & one is not provided in this novel (to its overall benefit, frankly). Rather, Highsmith builds a complex portrait of a very blank person. Tom Ripley isn't much of anything or anyone - there's no there there. He is a cipher, an actor on the stage of life performing for his supper & taking up roles as they suit his need. When given the chance to assume Dickie's good life - his wealth, his social ease, his Gucci luggage - Tom jumps at the chance. It's wonderful in its own twisted way & beautifully handled by this author.The lack of a tidy moral ending may give some readers pause - after all, we're used to our fictional criminals being punished in various ways (cf., Hannibal Lecter). For me this is one of the major strengths of the book & in a way made it all more plausible. Think of how many crimes must be committed in any given place on any given day & how many of those crimes go undetected or unpunished. Being caught & being convicted, despite all of our wonderful science, frequently comes down to some combination of skill & luck & Tom has both in abundance. You find yourself cheering him on & that's maybe the most disturbing thing of all because Tom really isn't a very nice person. He's not much of a person at all.Where Tom & his interior monologue is all blank & flat & gray, the world of objects (the Gucci bag, Dickie's blue-and-white striped shirt, the art books Tom is able to purchase with Dickie's money) is super real as is Italy & all the rest of Europe. Tom's awareness of his physical surroundings is deep & intense & the descriptions of Italy & of Paris are colorful & rich & warm in all the ways Tom is not.This is a deceptively simple read that is hiding something complex & interesting. Highly recommended.
susanamper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is very like the movie with Matt Damon and Jude Law. I thought at that time that Damon was miscast, though I did enjoy the movie. And on reading the book, you can see he is not at all what Highsmith had in mind, though Jude Law is perfect casting. Fun read about the devious machinations of a cold-blooded killer. For Tom Ripley crime does pay and murder pays more
santhony on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel was part of my effort to somewhat upgrade the quality of my reading list. This book was listed as one of the "100 Essentials for Everyman's Library". While it was entertaining enough, it was tedious at times and thus the three star rating. Best I can tell, the novel is set in the 1930s, first in New York, then in Italy. The style is similar to that used by Herman Wouk in "Youngblood Hawke" and "Marjorie Morningstar", and like the latter, the idiosyncratic language and customes of the period began to rankle after awhile. At its heart, the novel follows Thomas Ripley, an amoral, sexually confused, mentally disturbed wastrel as he evolves from a freeloading fraud into a psychopathic murderer. Unhappy with the circumstances of his existence, he takes on the personalities and the trappings of the more successful and admired American vagabonds with whom he comes into contact. Though moderately entertaining, the book starts relatively slowly, ramps up near midway through, then runs out of steam near the end. Not a complete waste of time, but certainly not deserving of designation as a classic.
rainpebble on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Talented Mr Ripley is about a man who attempts to take over the identity of one of his friends. The whole thing goes squirrelly on him and he ends up murdering his friend. In attempting to get out of that, he must commit another one. So he portrays himself and his friend to different people at different times and puts a lot of stress upon himself. The book was very interesting as there were a great deal of tangles and twists that Mr. Ripley must get himself out of or explain away. The whole thing was rather incredulous but very intriguing. The story takes place in Europe and I found the descriptions of the locales and the lifestyles rather interesting. It was a very quick page turner of a read and I liked it well enough that I will read the others in the Ripley series. I don't think it is for everyone but it was a very pleasant change for me. The book was much easier to read than the movie was to watch.
sturlington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really like Patricia Highsmith¿s writing style. It is a little old-fashioned, perfectly conveying the time and place of the story, but her word choices are so precise and evocative that I can almost see the action unfolding in technicolor in my imagination¿s eye. I hope it¿s not spoiling anything to tell you that there is a scene where a murder takes place, and that scene is so well narrated that I actually felt like I was the one committing the crime. At the risk of sounding like a fuddy-duddy, I don¿t know if people write like this anymore.The Talented Mr. Ripley is probably Highsmith¿s most well-known novel, and the first by her that I have read. Her antihero, Tom Ripley, is a character who is impossible to like, or even to sympathize with, but he does fascinate. Tom is not particularly clever or charming, or even that self-aware. Rather, he is a very lucky opportunist who wants to be anyone other than who he actually is ¿ he despises himself ¿ and he gets away with what he does through a combination of skillful lying and unthinking brazenness. Therein lies Tom¿s talent: He doesn¿t just lie effectively, but he convinces himself that his lies are what actually happened. Since he believes them so sincerely, everyone around him must believe them too.We may not like Tom Ripley, but we do love his story, as it goes completely against the kind of story we¿ve been conditioned to expect, in which the good guys triumph and no one gets away with murder. I¿m sure that¿s why several more Mr. Ripley books have followed this one.
MeditationesMartini on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Patricia Highsmith, you are the female Graham Greene and made me identify--not sympathize, identify--with a stone-cold killer better than anyone I can think of, and even got me to think of him as a class hero a little bit, which was unsettling. This was a riveting read; you were also a stone fox. Thank you on both counts.
ursula on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tom Ripley is an interesting character -- morally bankrupt, easily bored, an incredibly ego used as a bluff to cover his intense insecurities. I'm looking forward to reading more in this series. You can't exactly like him, but you have to find out how he gets away with the things he does.