Posted by: Matt | May 16, 2008

The Talented Mr. Ripley

The Talented Mr. Ripley
Patricia Highsmith
290 pgs

At the urging of Mr. Greenleaf, Tom Ripley travels to Italy to attempt to convince his son Dickie to come back home. Once there Tom is determined to make a new life for himself in Europe and goes about doing so in an extraordinary manner. He kills Dickie and assumes his identity.

Patricia Highsmith’s novel is a mystery, not for the reader but for Dickie’s family and friends. For the reader it is an interesting look into the mind of a murderer who must manage the difficulties of being two individuals. It’s a character study, and Tom is unlike any character I have ever read about. He has a strange ability to create a fiction for himself which alters his entire personality.  He is not happy unless he’s playing out some invented drama.

The novel’s key weakness is its sometimes dry focus on detail. While it is fascinating to see how Tom Ripley plays out his deception, there are sections in the novel where nothing much happens. However, The Talented Mr. Ripley was certainly a worthy read, simply for Mr. Ripley alone.

Rating: 7.5

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Responses

  1. I remember seeing the movie, but was really dissapointed with it. Maybe one day I’ll give the book a try.

  2. I read the first 3 of the Ripley’s novels a while back – I was a fan of the film. But I guess the novels didn’t really age well.

  3. I enjoyed this novel a lot as well; more than I thought it was. Been a while but I remember discussing in a class how the attention to detail, at least with regards to physical objects, is a particular aspect of Tom’s character in which he forms emotional attachments to objects rather than people.

  4. Stephanie – The movie doesn’t seem to have been very well regarded by reviewers. Haven’t seen it though so I can’t comment for myself.

    Dark Orpheus – You can definitely tell that the book was written in the 1950s. I haven’t decided whether to read the next two novels.

    Mike – I can definitely see that it’s true he forms attachments with objects rather than people. That would make it much easier to murder I would think.

  5. […] Page Rank I woke up this morning to another Hollywood legend having left the world. The Talented Mr. Pollack has forever changed […]


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