The Talented Mr. Ripley (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) by Patricia Highsmith

Patricia Highsmith is best known as the author of the bestselling Tom Ripley series, which has inspired several movies.

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The Talented Mr. Ripley (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) by Patricia Highsmith


Features

  • Paperback: 304 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.70 x 8.02 x 5.28
  • Publisher: Vintage Books; Reprint edition (September 1992)
  • ISBN: 0679742298


    Amazon.com
    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.

    The novel begins with a play on James's The Ambassadors. Tom Ripley is chosen by the wealthy Herbert Greenleaf to retrieve Greenleaf's son, Dickie, from his overlong sojourn in Italy. Dickie, it seems, is held captive both by the Mediterranean climate and the attractions of his female companion, but Mr. Greenleaf needs him back in New York to help with the family business. With an allowance and a new purpose, Tom leaves behind his dismal city apartment to begin his career as a return escort. But Tom, too, is captivated by Italy. He is also taken with the life and looks of Dickie Greenleaf. He insinuates himself into Dickie's world and soon finds that his passion for a lifestyle of wealth and sophistication transcends moral compunction. Tom will become Dickie Greenleaf--at all costs.

    Unlike many modernist experiments, The Talented Mr. Ripley is eminently readable and is driven by a gripping chase narrative that chronicles each of Tom's calculated maneuvers of self-preservation. Highsmith was in peak form with this novel, and her ability to enter the mind of a sociopath and view the world through his disturbingly amoral eyes is a model that has spawned such latter-day serial killers as Hannibal Lecter. --Patrick O'Kelley



    Reader Reviews
    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful: One of the greatest of all crime novels, October 11, 2003 Reviewer: flipsy from Portland, OR United States The superiority of Patricia Highsmith's novel to the recent Anthony Minghella film adaptation of it almost goes without saying: the homoerotic subtext of the film is here (unsurprisingly) laid bare, making the novel infintely richer aned more disturbing. Highsmith's novel is really a disquisittion on how identities are constructed: by objects, by friends, by official papers, and above all by writing. Part of its genius is bringing you inside Tom Ripley's very strange little mind so that his murders, by the time they occur, seem thoroughly logical and almost justifiable (which is part of Highsmith's moral genius). It's also a brilliant study of the manners of wealthy Americans abroad during the postwar period.

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