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)
The narrator does a very nice job. The story is understated, carrying the chill of Tom Ripley's lack of empathy and connection very well. I look forward to listening to other books in this series.
I would not recommend it. The 'protagonist' is a very nasty person. It is hard to be sympathetic with or relate to such a person as Mr Ripley, such a capable liar and self-serving cheat. All through, I wanted him to be found out and brought to an accounting of his terrible actions.
The point of this book is that sometimes bad people are rewarded for bad behavior. Life is not always fair.
Hard to have a favorite character. Tom Ripley dominates this book, and he is contemptable.
Yes, as a 20th century classic, it was worth the time investment.
12 step program please. I am addicted to Audible! I love trashy sexy books, award winning novels and everything between. Bring it!
I plan to re listen to the first half of the book, at least the first two hours because this is where we meet Tom, a con man with a broken past and an unhappy childhood. Clearly I am naive because just a con man couldn't be farther from the truth. Ripley is a narcissistic young man looking to get ahead and make it big time by lying, forgery and committing murder. I want to re listen to it because I wasn't expecting to listen to the tale of a full blow psychopath. This audio was slow, soft and dangerous. I have never watched the movie and now I will.
I especially like that this was a book written in the 50's because this era evokes this false illusion that America was sweet as pie and Ripley's character is just the opposite of that. Ripley plays the part of a well bred, sweet, caring man all the while he is waving his arrogance in front of the reader and HE expects to be caught but no one wants to see what is right in front of them - a deadly poser.
I read a review that mentioned that they had to remind their self not too sympathize with him because he is in the end a calculating killer. I found myself doing the same at times. I got sucked into his story of parasitic survival. Tom Ripley is the American Psycho.
I really enjoyed this audio and plan to continue the series. It had glamour, suspense, travel, murder and youthful naivete all on its side.
I am a lifelong lover of books. I got my degree in English & worked in the publishing business for many years. Now I work with wildlife.
I'd seen the excellent film when it came out, but had never read the book. I know Patricia Highsmith is a highly regarded author and so thought I would give this a try. What a good read. I had no idea that there were several Mr. Ripley books and now I have added them to my wish list. It's a bit disconcerting to see someone get away with murder, but I suppose it happens every day.
Listening and Reading
In the Audible.com's "The Talented Mr. Ripley" I have two pleasures united: the mundane but gripping Highsmith writing style and Kevin Kenerly's alluring performance of Highsmith's words. It's Kenerly's voice, much what I'd imagine Ripley would sound like, that has me buying the entire Ripley series. Bravo.
Live on edge of National Forest with lake, birds & wild animals. No more perfect place to indulge life-long love of reading.
Having a sociopath as the main character of a book is a new experience for me. However the idea really did grow on me -- in very large part due to the wonderful narration of Kevin Kenerly. This book has a definite plot, but it is there mostly as a supporting structure to enable the complex character development of Tom Ripley. There is a rather dark fascination in getting to know this disturbing character.
Kenerly provides an excellent portrayal of a psychopathic psyche through his pacing and tone. The combination of Highsmith's prose and this excellent narration is almost musical.
My 4 stars for the story is strictly based on the fact that in real life I would not want to live next door to the main character -- and my suspicion that if I did, he would probably be able to fool me. That's a little chilling.
Is the audio version of this book likely to be better than the text version? Having never read the text version, I cannot say. However, I can say that the narration adds a sense of immediacy to the action that builds suspense.
This book reminded of Shakespeare's play, Richard III. Both gave a first person perspective to crime and had a strangely sympathetic criminal narrator.
I didn't really have one favorite "scene" in this book. Instead, I found myself appreciating all of the work and rehearsal that Tom Ripley put into his efforts to assimilate into his surroundings.
I wouldn't dream of renaming this book. The name is perfect as is.
The great film of the same name doesn't even come close to doing this book justice. I was moved to cheering by the end. That it was for a psychopathic killer is why you must read this book.
Highsmith is superb
Kenerly nails the narration.
This is simply put, a great book. Patricia Highsmith creates a well drawn and deeply flawed character. This author creates a world that is compelling and captivating. The performance is also excellent. This is a must read!!
I've never seen the movie. So glad I got the book. Imagine Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye killing someone and going on the run in Italy. I loved every minute of this book.
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