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...Show More » 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.
While I don't believe 'Ripley Under Ground' is quite on the same level as 'The Talented Mr Ripley' it is still amazing to think about on how many leve..Show More »ls Highsmith is writing. This novel reminds me a lot of Peter Carey's novel 'My Life as a Fake'.
Both novels explore ideas of art, authenticity, fakery, artistic isolation and basic counterfeits of all forms. What happens when the poseur becomes a greater poet/painter than the original? How do we measure art? How thin is the line between truth and fiction?
Anyway, Highsmith deserves to be recognized not just as a hard-boiled crime writer, but as a literary/genre example of Gresham's law. When the gods of fiction made Highsmith, they broke and buried the plates.
While this is probably my favorite Highsmith/Ripley novel so far, it is also the most unsettling. She manages - by introducing a new counter-Narrator ..Show More »(Jonathan) - to make Ripley's amorality seem even more fragile and desolate. Jonathan's wife Simone also stands as an interesting counter-spouse to Heloise. Throughout the novel the twisting and sometimes converging tales of Ripley and Jonathan seem like spinning endless images mirrors. Each narrator reflecting the existential, blood-splattered flatness of the other. It was brilliant and disconcerting at the same time.
While not my favorite of the five Ripliad novels, still Highsmith didn't disappoint. Patricia Highsmith is all about atmospherics, setting and slight ..Show More »imbalances. She nuances the reader right to the edge of the pond and then plop, you've fallen into the depths of swanky euro-psychopathy. This is like Camus after he went to an art show, or Sartre after having eaten a really nice afternoon meal with a good vintage red wine.
The Ripley novels are existential ambivalence to the artistic extreme. It is all French mirrors, Tunisian smoke, German duplicity and American control. We can have it all, enjoy life to the hilt. However, we just might need to occasionally kill a friend, steal some art, ignore responsibility, and maybe just maybe let someone take a permanent dive for it all.