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The Talented Mr. Ripley | [Patricia Highsmith]

The Talented Mr. Ripley

In this first novel, we are introduced to suave, handsome Tom Ripley: a young striver, newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan in the 1950s. A product of a broken home, branded a "sissy" by his dismissive Aunt Dottie, Ripley becomes enamored of the moneyed world of his new friend, Dickie Greenleaf. This fondness turns obsessive when Ripley is sent to Italy to bring back his libertine pal, but he grows enraged by Dickie's ambivalent feelings for Marge, a charming American dilettante.
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Publisher's Summary

Since his debut in 1955, Tom Ripley has evolved into the ultimate bad boy sociopath, influencing countless novelists and filmmakers.

In this first novel, we are introduced to suave, handsome Tom Ripley: a young striver, newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan in the 1950s. A product of a broken home, branded a "sissy" by his dismissive Aunt Dottie, Ripley becomes enamored of the moneyed world of his new friend, Dickie Greenleaf. This fondness turns obsessive when Ripley is sent to Italy to bring back his libertine pal, but he grows enraged by Dickie's ambivalent feelings for Marge, a charming American dilettante.

A dark reworking of Henry James's The Ambassadors, The Talented Mr. Ripley—immortalized in the 1998 film starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gywneth Paltrow—is an unforgettable introduction to this debonair confidence man, whose talent for self-invention and calculated murder is chronicled in four subsequent novels.

©1955 Patricia Highsmith. Copyright renewed 1983 by Patricia Highsmith. (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"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." (Amazon.com review)

"[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)

"One of our greatest modernist writers." (Gore Vidal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (944 )
5 star
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4.1 (825 )
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  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 12-15-12
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 12-15-12

    "... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A high-wire, high-risk, high-reward masterpiece"

    Highsmith is amazing. She alludes to Henry James, plays with a Nabokovian style, throws in James Cain's dialogue, and blends it all with a Camus-like modern existentialism. Face it, pretenders, The Talented Mr. Ripley is an amazing psychological crime novel. This is one of those books which should be used as evidence to highlight the case that some of the best literature of the 20th Century came out of genre fiction. The novel is high-wire, high-risk, high-reward masterpiece. It leaves me amazed the Cure didn't just write their existential anthem to Highsmith:

    I can turn
    And swim away
    Or I can raise up my oar
    Staring at a boat
    Staring far ashore
    Whichever I chose
    It amounts to the same
    Absolutely nothing.

    I'm alive
    I'm dead
    I'm lying Tom Ripley
    Killing a Signor.

    24 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BZ Banks Atlanta, GA, United States 05-18-12
    BZ Banks Atlanta, GA, United States 05-18-12 Member Since 2012

    WildWiseWoman

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    "Stands up beautifully after almost 60 years"

    I saw the film when it came out about 15 years ago, but had not realized that the book was the first of a series until Audible advertised it that way. I bought the first and am so happy that I did. Patricia Highsmith's prose is flawless, her storytelling and character development without peer. The narrator, Kevin Kenerly, does a remarkable job, even elegantly mispronouncing the words that Tom mispronounces in his head. His voice is fluid, naive and arrogant - all perfect for this genteel madman. I'm definitely going to continue with the series. Highsmith had an astonishing gift for accurate portrayal of a sociopath, even while psychiatry was struggling with a medical definition. The book is so classic, as it exists within our lives of motorcars and airplanes and telephones, and yet so far removed. Could Tom Ripley have gotten away with anything had there been computers, DNA, Interpol? Fax machines? Video cameras? Cell phones? I'm so pleased that Audible is including such classics in its library.

    15 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wowziewoo Maryland 07-26-12
    wowziewoo Maryland 07-26-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Fascinating look at a con man"
    Where does The Talented Mr. Ripley rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Pretty high up there - one of my favorites.


    What other book might you compare The Talented Mr. Ripley to and why?

    None that I can think of at the moment.


    Which character – as performed by Kevin Kenerly – was your favorite?

    Tom Ripley, and also Freddie Miles. Kenerly seemed to know exactly what Tom meant, got all the tones exactly right. Nuanced reading, excellent.


    If you could rename The Talented Mr. Ripley, what would you call it?

    The Murder of Tom Ripley


    Any additional comments?

    A very readable, engaging story. I love the idea that we're inside the grifter's mind, and that he has layers. He's not just a flat criminal. He has insecurities and feels audacity at all the wrong moments - he's a very believable guy.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mel USA 04-24-13
    Mel USA 04-24-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Patricia, Phil, and Pathology"

    Well, Dr. Phil just wrote a book based on his belief that it's time we all knew *how the world really works* and how to become *street savvy;* claiming that he is offering a rare glimpse inside the mind of the "bad guys"....philling Dr. Phil's pockets with more cha-ching is fine, but Highsmith outlined exactly what you look out for over 25 yrs. ago, giving us much more than just a glimpse into the mind of one of the baddest. -- and he is the talented and sociopathic Mr. Ripley.

    Highsmith's Ripley is like a textbook study of a blooming sociopath/psychopath--along with the personal narration of the processes taking place, and that's what makes this so wonderfully chilling and entertaining. Imagine a film of Ted Bundy's crimes with a lucid Bundy narrating the thought processes going on; fascinating. I worked with more than a couple of budding Mr. Ripleys in my former profession and Highsmith has done her research. True, the story might have a few moments that require you suspend belief, and it may be considered slow by some, but the action is the smooth unfurling of the petals on our psycho flower. (And this guy puts an extra *o* in the word smooth.) I'm tempted to continue on with the 5 series *Ripliad* just to shake my head and see "how's that working for you Mr. Ripley?"

    28 of 36 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Calliope 12-11-14
    Calliope 12-11-14
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    "a sociopathic dreamer"

    I have read several of Patricia Highsmith's books before, though this is the first audiobook of her work that I have listened too. She is wonderful at writing psychologically creepy thrillers, and that is relayed nicely in this production. What I had not gotten from the movie version was how much Tom Ripley was a dreamer. Yes, he was a sociopath, but he was also a rampant dreamer who created elaborate scenarios in his mind of what his life could be like, "if only......." Sort of like a sociopathic Walter Mitty. His lies were all about making his life easy, but he never knew how he would do that until the opportunity presented itself. When it did, though, he showed no hesitation, conscience, or guilt about what he had to do, and was a practiced and skilled liar.

    The narration might be considered too slow for some, but I thought it created the slightly creepy and sly sort of environment that fit Highsmith's style of writing and characterizations.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RueRue 04-11-14
    RueRue 04-11-14

    RueRue

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    "Movie was better"
    What did you like best about The Talented Mr. Ripley? What did you like least?

    The narration was excellent, and kept me involved in this rather dated story. It is very much a piece of its time. Well written but slow paced. It was interesting to compare to the movie version and it was one of the rare instances where the movie was better (IMHO)


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jesse's granddaughter New York 05-15-13
    Jesse's granddaughter New York 05-15-13 Member Since 2015

    repress

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    "Fun Story, Narrator Awful with European Languages"
    If you could sum up The Talented Mr. Ripley in three words, what would they be?

    No-good makes good


    What other book might you compare The Talented Mr. Ripley to and why?

    ?


    What three words best describe Kevin Kenerly’s voice?

    Mispronounces, small range


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Could have, but didn't.


    Any additional comments?

    I like the story, but had issues with the narrator. Can't imagine whoever directed this didn't have someone who knew a little Italian, French (and in later books, German) around to help with pronunciations. Sometimes the narrator mispronounces something several times, then seemingly gets corrected and, from then on, correctly pronounces the words. However, no edits were made on the earlier screw ups. This bothered me a lot.

    Other times, he works so hard on his accent, that I can't make out the "French" words he's trying to say.

    I also hate the way he does women characters and while, there are a lot of characters, he doesn't seem even to keep up on the major characters by keeping them straight.

    Sorry Kevin, you were in over your head.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Tuscaloosa, AL, United States 04-03-13
    Linda Tuscaloosa, AL, United States 04-03-13 Member Since 2012

    Nurse, mom, loved to read....but now I love to listen. When I retire I hope to hear waves crashing in 1 ear and audible in the other!

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    "I was fooled by the rave reviews!"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would not recommend this book, I thought it was boring and I had to force myself to finish hoping for a good ending.


    If you’ve listened to books by Patricia Highsmith before, how does this one compare?

    This is my first Highsmith book, I have bought the 2nd Ripley but it will be awhile before I try it, if I do at all.


    Which character – as performed by Kevin Kenerly – was your favorite?

    The narrator did a good job. Ripley was the primary character, no other characters really stood out to me.


    Was The Talented Mr. Ripley worth the listening time?

    No..in fact I interrupted listening to listen to a trilogy and a repeat of one I had already listened to.


    Any additional comments?

    I must have missed something because of all the rave reviews...I was disappointed.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 03-19-13
    Janice Sugar Land, TX, United States 03-19-13 Member Since 2010

    Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.

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    "Like watching a car wreck"

    Having seen the movie years ago, there was no surprise for me as to the outcome of the story. What made this a good listen was the view into the mind of a narcissistic sociopath. He is the ultimate unreliable narrator because he manages to convince himself that the world has become what he imagines it to be, and then through his "talented" acting, succeeds in convincing others as well. Is the apparent shallowness of the other characters real, making them susceptible to his manipulations, or is the shallowness merely Ripley's perception that convinces him that they deserve his disdain?

    The first 2/3's of the book are the best, as that is where the actions of the story take place. The last 1/3 drags just a bit as the cat-and-mouse becomes redundant, and living exclusively inside Ripley's head gets a bit claustrophobic. That may actually be the point, but after a while, for me it became somewhat tiresome. Unlike some other reviewers, in spite of finding him psychologically facinating (like watching a car wreck), I did not find myself rooting for Ripley. I enjoyed this outing, but I'm not sure I want to continue in the series, as I suspect subsequent entries will likely be new verses of the same song, and I don't like Tom Ripley well enough to want to make him a regular companion. Well narrated by Kenerly who succeeded in giving Ripley the required furtive, paranoid internal voice, alongside the more open and naive public facade.

    11 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ron Vancouver, BC, Canada 02-12-12
    Ron Vancouver, BC, Canada 02-12-12

    A great fan of stories and audiobooks. Good ones.

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    "A great, engaging listen"
    What made the experience of listening to The Talented Mr. Ripley the most enjoyable?

    Not knowing if he would get away with it or not, the entire time.


    What other book might you compare The Talented Mr. Ripley to and why?

    Something like a W. Somerset Maughn novel, or F. Scott Fitzgerald.


    Which character – as performed by Kevin Kenerly – was your favorite?

    Tom, the dastardly villain.


    If you could take any character from The Talented Mr. Ripley out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Tom, so I could get him into a state where he tried to stab me with a fork, just because I would know it was coming, and could stop him.


    Any additional comments?

    I liked it, and found it very difficult to not keep listening for hours and hours on end.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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