Well, Dr. Phil just wrote a book based on his belief that it's time we all knew *how the world really works* and how to become *street savvy;* claim..Show More »ing that he is offering a rare glimpse inside the mind of the "bad guys"....philling Dr. Phil's pockets with more cha-ching is fine, but Highsmith outlined exactly what you look out for over 25 yrs. ago, giving us much more than just a glimpse into the mind of one of the baddest. -- and he is the talented and sociopathic Mr. Ripley.
Highsmith's Ripley is like a textbook study of a blooming sociopath/psychopath--along with the personal narration of the processes taking place, and that's what makes this so wonderfully chilling and entertaining. Imagine a film of Ted Bundy's crimes with a lucid Bundy narrating the thought processes going on; fascinating. I worked with more than a couple of budding Mr. Ripleys in my former profession and Highsmith has done her research. True, the story might have a few moments that require you suspend belief, and it may be considered slow by some, but the action is the smooth unfurling of the petals on our psycho flower. (And this guy puts an extra *o* in the word smooth.) I'm tempted to continue on with the 5 series *Ripliad* just to shake my head and see "how's that working for you Mr. Ripley?"
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.
This was a slippery Highsmith. Ripley coldly floats between two steep cliffs. He isn't necessarily a likable or even sympathetic narrator, but still m..Show More »anages to be someone it is natural to root for.
With the first three books in the Riplad, I bought into the idea that Tom Ripley was absolutely amoral. But that expecation, that setup, makes this novel seem even more crafty. Highsmith bends genders, flips expecations, dodges emotions, transforms motives, etc., and almost clones Ripley with Frank.
Probably the most disturbing character in the whole series is Tom's wife Heloise. I can sympathize Tom's amorality easy enough, but I just can't UNDERSTAND Heloise. While nothing about her is directly creepy, it is like Highsmith is using Heloise to point a finger at the West or perhaps at the reader.
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.