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)
Tom Ripley and DIckey Greenleaf.
The book is incredibly slow-paced and I found it pretty boring.
The voices could have been differentiated more clearly.
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.
There's no specific narrator in mind; I just would've opted for a more masculine voice.
I thought the questioning of Tom's sexuality was pointless. I don't see how the plot benefited from it.
Avid reader and blogger
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.
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.
I'm open to any book as long as it is true to itself.
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.
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!
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.
Loving Life, Living Free!
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.
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.
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.
The Morbidly Talented, Senior Ripley.
I think I will listen to this again, now!
I saw the movie several years ago and can't remember the ending. I am assuming it is similar to the book. Sometimes when you see a movie before reading the book, it can be disappointing because the movie was altered too much or it is too close there isn't additional background story to be gleaned from reading the book. The book is right there in between. I am looking forward to reading the others in the series to see what dastardly deeds Mr Ripley is up to next.
I thought Kevin Kenerly's performance was kind of eerie. The somewhat soft-spoken, even tone seemed to fit the dysfunction and mindful calculations of Tom Ripley to not let emotions trip him up.
Even though the book was written about 60 years ago, it does not feel dated.
Grimmer and more violent than I had imagined. I got about half way through and gave up. A portrait of a disturbed individual with minimal plot or drama. Mostly goes on in the mind of the highly unsympathetic anti-hero. If you like this sort of thing give it a try; otherwise, I'd skip it.
No problems with performance, although not terribly brilliant either. But hard material to work with.
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