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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 (901 )
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Performance
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  •  
    JACK HOUSTON, TX, United States 01-28-13
    JACK HOUSTON, TX, United States 01-28-13

    Listening and Reading

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Audible Delight"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy F. Sierra Foothills, Northern CA 01-26-13
    Nancy F. Sierra Foothills, Northern CA 01-26-13 Member Since 2007

    Live on edge of National Forest with lake, birds & wild animals. No more perfect place to indulge life-long love of reading.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Perfectly Chilling Sociopath"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Zbikowski 01-14-13

    The Idealist

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    "A Talented Performance"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Talented Mr. Ripley to be better than the print version?

    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.


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

    This book reminded of Shakespeare's play, Richard III. Both gave a first person perspective to crime and had a strangely sympathetic criminal narrator.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    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.


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

    I wouldn't dream of renaming this book. The name is perfect as is.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Oliver New York, NY, United States 12-16-12
    Oliver New York, NY, United States 12-16-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Fantastic"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon Pittsburgh, PA, United States 11-29-12
    Sharon Pittsburgh, PA, United States 11-29-12
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    "Brillant, well written, excellent performance!!"

    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!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Parola138 United States 11-23-12
    Parola138 United States 11-23-12 Listener Since 2005

    We bite

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A quick, precise review of Mr. Ripley"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rosemarie Fishkill, NY, United States 07-12-12
    Rosemarie Fishkill, NY, United States 07-12-12 Member Since 2014

    rc1000

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    "Darkly funny"
    If you could sum up The Talented Mr. Ripley in three words, what would they be?

    Psychologically darkly funny


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

    The character study of Tom and his world view was fascinating and amusing.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jaye GREENWICH, CT, United States 05-30-12
    jaye GREENWICH, CT, United States 05-30-12 Member Since 2012

    AUDIBLE MAKES READING POSSIBLE AND EASY FOR ME...I AM VISUALLY IMPAIRED. I WISH THEY HAD ALL THE BOOKS I WANT I WOULD SNAP THEM UP!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "enjoyable read."
    If you could sum up The Talented Mr. Ripley in three words, what would they be?

    liar, dreamer, murderer


    What did you like best about this story?

    ripley's constant finagling.


    Have you listened to any of Kevin Kenerly’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    different parts moments that were particularly enjoyable. it is hard to choose one. i think i found the tension that was going on when freddie figured out what was going on particularly satisfying. tom thought he could fool them all.


    Any additional comments?

    i saw the movie. i knew i would like the book and i did.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Columbus, OH, United States 05-07-12
    Mary Columbus, OH, United States 05-07-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Not my favorite"
    Where does The Talented Mr. Ripley rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I enjoyed the story, although the narrator drags down the rating a bit for me. I must admit that, of all the audiobooks to which I've listened, I enjoyed this one the least.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I never saw the film, but the author's writing is so precise and so evocative, I felt like I saw the story evolving in my head as I listened.


    What aspect of Kevin Kenerly’s performance would you have changed?

    All of it. Mr. Kenerly's overly-affected speech often distracted me from the story. He should stick to Shakespeare.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Nice guy ends up head first in the Mediterranean; and bad guy is incredibly lucky.


    Any additional comments?

    This must have been a real page turner in its time. In 2012, the tax cheat, Thomas Ripley, would have been caught before he ever left New York for Italy, but then there would have been no opportunity for such a fanciful story taking us on a tour of Europe.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret United States 04-24-12
    Margaret United States 04-24-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Plodding pace, unlikable protaganist"

    Ripley - a neurotic sociopath - is not an engaging character. And the pace and narration of this story plods along. The other characters are wan and tepid, not the sparkling but damaged children of privelege that the movie demonstrates. You don't really care what happends to anyone in this story.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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