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The Talented Mr. Ripley

A book by Patricia Highsmith

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Suspense lives on

  • Mar 13, 2011
  • by
A brilliant suspense built on actual suspense rather than "effects" or sensationalism. Highsmith thoroughly explores the mind of an amoral aesthete, for whom, despite his shortcomings, we find ourselves craving redemption.

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review by . January 15, 2000
Tom Ripley: the name conjures up an image of the all American boy--a little shy, modest and not as suavely in control as a European counterpart. The old adage that one should not judge a book by its cover could not be a truer in this instance. Poor, underprivledged Tom takes his pursuit of the American dream a little too seriously, yet he manages to pull off unbelievable and almost unspeakable acts with the finesse and skill of a master jeweler and the audacity of a veteran politician. Highsmith's …
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Yulia Berko ()
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Member Since: Mar 13, 2011
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About this book


One of the great crime novels of the 20th century, Patricia Highsmith'sThe Talented Mr. Ripleyis a blend of the narrative subtlety of Henry James and the self-reflexive irony of Vladimir Nabokov. Like the best modernist fiction,Ripleyworks 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 ...

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Books, Fiction, Novels, Crime Novels, Patricia Highsmith


ISBN-10: 0679742298
ISBN-13: 978-0679742296
Author: Patricia Highsmith
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Vintage
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