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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 (716 )
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4.1 (618 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    dal CARY, NC, United States 01-28-12
    dal CARY, NC, United States 01-28-12 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The celebration of psychopathy."

    Very entertaining, if unusual, storyline. I have never read or listened to a book with the primary character anything like Mr. Ripley I don't think.

    Different and surprising, but that is the allure that caused me to get another in the series.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven SOUTH PASADENA, CA, United States 02-02-12
    Steven SOUTH PASADENA, CA, United States 02-02-12 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "LOVE IT!"
    Any additional comments?

    This book is right up my alley! I love a story where the hero is also the villain! ... And in this case, a psychopath! A most unusual and entertaining read, written with intelligence and wonderfully narrated!

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C Mack Lewis Phoenix, AZ, United States 02-16-13
    C Mack Lewis Phoenix, AZ, United States 02-16-13 Member Since 2011

    I love a great story.

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    "Loved it."

    I love hating myself for loving a book about a sociopath and murderer. Thank you, Patricia Highsmith for writing a thoroughly entertaining and original book!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shaa'ira FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, United States 07-29-14
    Shaa'ira FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, United States 07-29-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointing!"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The voices could have been differentiated more clearly.


    What could Patricia Highsmith have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Ms. Highsmith could have had more action sooner than later and a better ending. I would've also preferred a more masculine, secure, and confident Mr. Ripley. Overall, I didn't find the story to be as clever as I initially imagined.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Kevin Kenerly?

    There's no specific narrator in mind; I just would've opted for a more masculine voice.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Talented Mr. Ripley?

    I thought the questioning of Tom's sexuality was pointless. I don't see how the plot benefited from it.


    Any additional comments?

    No

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gitte Copenhagen, Denmark 05-30-14
    Gitte Copenhagen, Denmark 05-30-14 Member Since 2012

    Avid reader and blogger

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This is what I like, sitting at a table and watchi"

    The Talented Mr. Ripley is unlike anything I’ve read before. It was entertaining and nerve-racking, yet somewhat underplayed and even slow at times. It’s a damned interesting story, but also one of the most unpleasant reads ever. You know that feeling when you’re watching a movie where someone breaks into a house and then the person who lives there comes home and the intruder has to hide? It’s unbearable in a squirm-around-in-your-seat-kind-of-way, right? That’s how it felt reading The Talented Mr. Ripley. If I hadn’t listened to the audio, I don’t think I ever would have been able to finish. There was one particular scene that made me gasp loudly (while I was at the gym – not embarrassing at all!!! No no …) where Tom Ripley slips and is nearly busted. Insufferable!

    The brilliant thing about this book is that you kind of get to like Tom Ripley, even if he is a creepy psycho. I actually found myself rooting for him – I wanted him to get away with murder. What’s even worse: there were times I could identify with him! That scared the shit out of me. It was just little observations on life and people. Like this quote:

    Anticipation! It occurred to him that his anticipation was more pleasant to him than the experiencing.

    That could just as well have been something I had said. Don’t get me wrong, I would never murder someone and steal their identity. Unless that person had a really awesome book & shoe collection.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    amy COLUMBUS, OHIO, United States 04-29-14
    amy COLUMBUS, OHIO, United States 04-29-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Good story - but disturbing"

    I can't say I liked this book, but I had a hard time putting it down when I started it. The story line left me disturbed and strangely compelled to keep listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gudrun Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories, Canada 04-18-14
    Gudrun Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories, Canada 04-18-14 Member Since 2011

    I'm open to any book as long as it is true to itself.

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    "A true study of envy"

    The tension in this book really kept my attention. Ripley's character is central in the novel and his envy and deception are interesting to follow. Having seen the film previously, I cannot help but notice how completely mis-cast it was.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tez L Los Angeles, CA USA 04-08-14
    Tez L Los Angeles, CA USA 04-08-14 Member Since 2011

    Tez L

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    "Sometimes interesting"
    Did The Talented Mr. Ripley inspire you to do anything?

    Actually, it didn't. I like books that give me "hmmmmm" moments, and I didn't get many from this book. Mostly I just found it sad. I did listen to the whole thing, though, which I only do if I am enjoying the book again, but I was happy it ended. I had thought I would like it better. Loved the movie!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Waltham, MA, United States 03-24-14
    Mark Waltham, MA, United States 03-24-14 Member Since 2010

    MTF

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I was totally bored"

    After almost two hours of listening, I checked out online reviews to see if it would get any better. Some listener reviews said that it loses momentum near the end. That sealed it. I was done. While I can see why some readers and listeners would be intrigued by the main character, I just was not. I neither liked or disliked Tom Ripley. I didn't care about him, and this whole novel seems about the inner workings of this "interesting" character. I seem to be in a minority about this, but it just did not grab me. Taste is personal. Meanwhile, I almost did not read The Goldfinch because of the large number of people who rated in a 1 or 2 on Amazon. A friend lent it to me, and it is my favorite novel in years (Mark "MTF" is my reviewer handle on amazon, my review will be up soon). Back to The Talented Mr. Ripley, if you care about plot and secondary characters, be warned that you might be disappointed. If you want a psychiatric profile of a twisted mind, you might love it or you might not. Listen to the full sample. I did not love that, but trusted the reviews, and figured I'd get into the story, but I didn't.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anita Westland, MI, United States 02-14-14
    Anita Westland, MI, United States 02-14-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disturbed Mr. Ripley."
    Would you listen to The Talented Mr. Ripley again? Why?

    First, this author weaves a tale that is intriguing wonderful. Mr. Thomas Ripley, is mentally disturb sociopath and psychopath who even, during his least endearing moments you end up rooting for him. The narrator did a wonderful job in catching the spirit of the book, and his tones, inflections made each character unique. This book was fun, climatic, laughably absurd, and seriously cerebral.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Yes it did.! The antics of Mr. Ripley in his lonely life, filled with the monster that is himself, is fascinating. I was wondering how many people are like Mr. Ripley to pull off such daring. I mean to become so obsessed with someone, you ACTUALLY kick them out their life and take it over.....*shaking my head* stupefying.


    What about Kevin Kenerly’s performance did you like?

    I like his voice. I like the way he draws you into the story. He is not boring and flat, but engaging and he seemed to enjoy this work.


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

    The Morbidly Talented, Senior Ripley.


    Any additional comments?

    I think I will listen to this again, now!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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