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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

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  • Story

Pitch Perfect Narration

The book is outstanding - the film doesn't even come close, good as it is - but it's the narrator that lifts it to the next level. The nuanced interpretation is perfect; the cadence smooth - perfectly pitched to the various scenes and situations.

Highly recommend. Great book read by outstanding narrator. Win/win.

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Kept my interest

Kept my interest, but this is one of the most unrealistic books I've ever heard. Mr. Ripley would not be talented if anyone he encountered was average. Pretty silly, but I wanted to know how it played out. I have to give it a fair rating for entertainment value, but for reality it would get zero stars.

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Creepy, but good.

This was quite a creepy story, but it was well written and very well narrated.

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  • Andrew
  • Hollywood, FL, United States
  • 06-12-16

Better than the film, and it was a very good film

I knew that the movie was set in the 1950's, but I didn't know that it was based on this book which was written at that time, or that the book is the first in a series.

Same characters, but many substantial differences in the plot of the book vs. the film. I won;t hint at what they are but if you have seen the movie you still have many surprises coming. First rate suspense .

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  • Scott
  • Moss Beach, CA, United States
  • 05-20-16

Beautiful Prose, Annoying Narrator

Highsmith is known for her wonderful command of the language and a creepy mind. Her sociopaths (Ripley, as well as Bruno from Strangers on a Train) could be characterized as asexual misogynists or repressed homosexuals, depending on your viewpoint. That they don't understand the nuances of male/female relationships enrages them and ultimately drives them to murder. Highsmith writes beautifully, and though Kenerly's narrative tone carries the appropriate sense of underlying malice, I was several times startled out of an emersion in the story by his mispronunciation of Italian and French words, and by the hard "g" that he gives to such words as "ring" and "long." If that weren't bad enough, he often turns statements into questions with a rising inflection at the end of a sentence.

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Could not finish this book

What would have made The Talented Mr. Ripley better?

The main character seemed to have no redeeming characteristics.

Has The Talented Mr. Ripley turned you off from other books in this genre?

Possibly

Which character – as performed by Kevin Kenerly – was your favorite?

Did not find one I liked

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I thought the narrator did an acceptable job.

Any additional comments?

Perhaps if a friend had told me it was going to get better I would have stayed with it.

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Wish they would remake the movie

Would you listen to The Talented Mr. Ripley again? Why?

Yes, the narrator is intoxicating

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Talented Mr. Ripley?

Mr. Ripley's true thoughts about Marge were hilarious to me

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

No

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No I wouldn't have wanted to listen to it in one sitting because there are alot of details about Ripley's scams and it is a little too much information and becomes boring.

Any additional comments?

Love Tom Ripley's character. I started off with the movie many many years ago and always loved it. Finally read the book and don't regret it. Never knew it was a trilogy.

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Loved this book

What made the experience of listening to The Talented Mr. Ripley the most enjoyable?

It was such a twisted story but my sympathy remained with Ripley, sort of hoping he'd get away with it yet knowing that if he did, it was wrong.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I couldn't believe that I could have sympathy for a murderer and someone as selfish as Tom.

Which scene was your favorite?

Pick any of the suspense ones where he was sure he'd be found out and then gets away with it.

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

It is a film.

Any additional comments?

I bought it on a whim and am delighted I did.

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Setting the foundation for this series and others

I've read a lot of "criminal" protagonist novels but never about one that lives in the same reality as I do. Kevin Kenerly delivers a though provoking calm to the narrative. Looking forward to this series and other stories by Patricia Highsmith.

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Well-written bore

Obviously, this writer is talented which kept me listening to the end but nothing happens , especially in the last third of the book.! The main character's emotions are blunted and this seeps through in the writing. Preferred Strangers on a Train by the same author. Less pompous and more tension. Probably finished with this author. Definitely finished with this series,