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.
"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)
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
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
I'm lying Tom Ripley
Killing a Signor.
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.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
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.
So hooked by audio that I have to read books aloud. *If my reviews help, please let me know.
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?"
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)
New series suggestions?
This book was excellent, the characters were enchanting, and the skeems were amazing.
The best moments dealt with Ripley's skeems to cover up his crimes and walk away with everything.
Although graphic, the murder sceens were amazing.
When Ripley murders Dickey.
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!
I would not recommend this book, I thought it was boring and I had to force myself to finish hoping for a good ending.
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.
The narrator did a good job. Ripley was the primary character, no other characters really stood out to me.
No..in fact I interrupted listening to listen to a trilogy and a repeat of one I had already listened to.
I must have missed something because of all the rave reviews...I was disappointed.
Pretty high up there - one of my favorites.
None that I can think of at the moment.
Tom Ripley, and also Freddie Miles. Kenerly seemed to know exactly what Tom meant, got all the tones exactly right. Nuanced reading, excellent.
The Murder of Tom Ripley
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.
A great fan of stories and audiobooks. Good ones.
Not knowing if he would get away with it or not, the entire time.
Something like a W. Somerset Maughn novel, or F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Tom, the dastardly villain.
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.
I liked it, and found it very difficult to not keep listening for hours and hours on end.
Audible Member Since 2003
This was an interesting book and of the genre that doesn't normally attract me. However, it passed the simplest true test for me - it made me look forward to listening more and more.
Although narrated in the third person, it is told as if the author is just over the shoulder of Tom Ripley. It is a subtle seduction where the reader/listener, observing this character soon gets the notion that something isn't quite right with this guy. He engages in some bizarre behavior, that at first might seem to be harmless mischief, but hints at some deeper psychosis. Before long, we are given glimpses into Ripley's thought processes, and any doubts about his sanity are erased.
Tom Ripley travels to Europe at the request of the wealthy father of one of his
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