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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Empathic Antihero!
The character development of Tom Ripley is what makes The Talented Mr. Ripley one of the great crime novels of the 20th century. Ms. Highsmith is an acute observer and is able to translate her sensitivity into a multidimensional portrait of a successful criminal in a way that is virtually unmatched. One of the most astonishing qualities of this book is that you will find...
Published on 13 Nov 2004 by Donald Mitchell

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great story; poor-quality text
Faultless character development and plot; spare suspenseful prose ... I won't go on. It's a great read. Just don't buy this version. Cheaply produced with over a dozen typos. Poor legibility in places. Cover also scuffs easily. Vintage story deserves better than Vintage!
Published 3 months ago by dilgerwords


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars classy detective fiction, 21 Nov 2006
By 
L. Minker "Lynsey M" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Talented Mr. Ripley (Paperback)
Patricia Highsmith's first book in the Mr Ripley series sets the talented young man in Italy, at the request of Dickie Greenleaf's father. Ripley is charged with convincing Dickie to return home, closer to his ailing mother and closer to his father's boat building business. However Mr Greenleaf senior does not really understand Mr Ripley, he is a the young insurance executive but a man lost in New York, looking for any opening or scam. So when Ripley arrives in the small town of Mongibello and finds Dickie living an easy life surrounded by wealth and leisure he decides he might just stay a while. He befriends Dickie at first, but a conflict with Dickie's close friend Marge causes his alliance with Dickie to fall apart and Ripley soon comes to despise Dickie the person. But not, significantly, the image of Dickie - Dickie the icon. I'm sure I won't be giving too much away if I reveal that Ripley murders Dickie and impersonates him with relish across Italy and France, always trying to keep ahead of the police and the private investigator Mr Greenleaf senior has hired.

I read the book in a single, sharply focussed burst and felt the warm glow of satisfaction - still thinking about how immaculately the book was executed for days afterward. Indeed it's a tribute to Partritia Highsmith's insight, research and efficient prose that we feel a real part of Ripley's crimes and impersonations. Although he's a murderer, thief and scheming fraudster, never are we not routing for his escape and enduring freedom. Not an easy feat since I can hardly list a single positive trait in Ripley's character.

There are a few loose ends here. Ripley seems to be a totally sexless young man, perhaps the subtext is that he's homosexual. Marge suggests it and Ripley is highly offended by the suggestion. This is the closest we get even of the remotest sexual expression shown by Ripley. He seems to get all his kicks in impersonations and crime. I will add that this is the first in a series, so perhaps I'll soon find new depths in Ripley's character. It certainly has left me wanting more and I would recommend The Talented Mr Ripley to anybody.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely hooked, 23 July 2006
By 
J. Hutchings "jjhutchings" (Framlingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Talented Mr. Ripley (Paperback)
Having seen the film and blubbed incoherently, I thought I really ought to read the book. I finished it in two days, on and off, and found it to be a far better thriller. The film introduces a number of characters (Meredith) that do not feature in the book, and gives over to a relationship between Ripley and Peter.

The book was simply great - stop reading this and read the book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic originality, gripping, and classy., 21 Mar 2000
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This review is from: The Talented Mr. Ripley (Paperback)
Having seen the recent film by Anthony Minghella first, it was interesting to be able to compare the two. Whilst I thought the film was excellent, reading the book took on an entirely different slant to the Ripley experience. In this book, more detail is spent on getting to know the character Tom Ripley. And whilst the things that happen are more planned than the impression you get from the film, you still find yourself preferring the ending in the book. I think Tom is more talented in the book by Highsmith, and this makes for a cleverer story. If you want to read something totally different to any story you've come across before, then read this novel. If you're still not sure, just take a look at the ratings that these reviews have given it. If, after all that convincing, you're still unsure, well...then you're a loser and don't deserve the pleasure of being able to read this book in the first place!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a better version of the film, 15 Mar 2000
It was actaully the film which inspired me to read this book. Despite how wonderfully the film was made and all the characters starred by gorgeous actors, actresses; the book proved to be a completely different story... a more convincing one. It's pace was fast and the chapters short, I literally could not put it down. The Mr Ripley in the book appeared to be more of an anti-hero than Matt Damon; Dickie Greenleaf just as desirable as Jude Law; Marge... was a totally different person to what Paltrow was playing. The main plot being Mr Ripley, a nobody who's talent is being able to immitate someone to the closest detail, grasped the opportunity to rise up from the crowd. He detests killing, unless he has to (he says so anyway...) We could safely call Mr Ripley a very lucky murderer. Everytime he is on verge of being found out, he convinces himslelf that he is the person he is pretending to be, almost like a hypnotise. The cleverness of the whole novel is that Patricia Highsmith made every detail precise and all Mr Ripley's monologue down-to-earth that it seems more of a real-life situation than fiction. She saw the weakness in human being, the greed, the determination, the fear, the urge to strive and put them all into her characters which made them alive. Excellent book, thank you Highsmith.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ripley is a fantastic character, and this is a well written, psychological thriller, 13 May 2013
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This review is from: The Talented Mr. Ripley (Paperback)
This is the second time I have read this book. The first was in 2000, and was inspired by the 1999 film adaptation directed by Anthony Minghella. Sufficient time had elapsed for me to have forgotten most of the detail of both the book and the film. I think this resulted in me enjoying it even more this time round. It's a compelling tale of how the opportunistic and amoral Tom Ripley takes advantage of situations. Tom Ripley is a deeply flawed individual, who - whilst clever and cunning - takes foolish risks and makes occasional mistakes. These ratchet up the tension for the reader.

The story is all told from Tom Ripley's perspective, and somehow, despite his reprehensible behaviour, Patricia Highsmith had me rooting for him. The book is full of insights into Ripley's character, including short flashbacks to his dysfunctional childhood that credibly help to explain his personality and behaviour.

As I was reading, I became very intrigued about Patricia Highsmith, and - on the basis of the biography on her Wikipedia page - can quite understand how she was able to conceive of a character like Ripley.

Ripley is a fantastic character, and this is a well written, psychological thriller.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rooting for the baddie, 27 Sep 2012
By 
This review is from: The Talented Mr. Ripley (Paperback)
Fascinating book. So simple, almost simplistic, but effective, like many great books. Why is it so good? As some of its detractors point out, many of the events and circumstances are barely credible, and the police do seem a great deal dimmer than our modern day TV detectives. (This is because the real police are a great deal dimmer than TV detectives, and not just in Italy.) It's great simply because of the character of Ripley, a one-off, who many authors would like to copy (but that would be copying). I'm convinced that Highsmith must have known someone very much like Ripley in order to portray him so believably. He is an enigma. Why do so many readers root for him throughout the story? Because of his terrible insecurity, I guess, and his wishing to be like someone else, taken to the furthest extreme. I'm on about my fifth reading of the book, still trying to discover the secret.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strangely, serendipity sometimes finds Ripley, at one remove, standing by quietly observing his enemy's nemesis, 19 Aug 2012
By 
Mrs. Katharine Kirby "Kate" (HELSTON, Cornwall United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Like so many I was drawn into the world of Thomas Ripley by the film but now I think the film was a silly joke compared to these top quality novels. I managed to get hold of the five books in a box together and was set up for days and days of thoroughly enjoyable immersion in the world of Tom, and later with his, quite perfect for him, wife Heloise. She, a queen of shopping and personal compromise, all out for exquisite self indulgence in creature comforts, doesn't appear in the first book or the film. Indeed having watched the film you might not imagine Tom taking a wife but truly the Ripley Matt Damon played was a calculating, gawky creature compared to the quite unique and original man Patricia Highsmith has created.

So happily the parts of the film that didn't chime with me don't appear anyway in the stories. Matt Damon is reported as saying that having read the books he wanted to go back and make the film all over again, sticking to the original plot. I can see why. Each Ripley could stand alone but for maximum enjoyment it would be best to read them in order.

Most unusual and gripping is the clever way the reader is caught up with and enfolded into Ripley's cool thought processes to the extent that his occasionally impetuous and brutal actions actually make sense and seem forgivable. You really end up wanting him to stay in one piece and survive just so he can go back to being 'himself'; a cultured 'gentleman of leisure', someone you would definitely want on your side, batting for your team. His quirky reasoning can embrace deep loyalties to the apparently darker, naughtier characters he has gathered around him, he gets enmeshed with tricksy shady deals. He has a cheery keenness to help, a warped but definite sense of his own moral standards, perhaps defined as honour amongst murderers. The only killing he comes to feel some anguish about is the first so perhaps that old saw is true that after one...

You may recognise that feeling when you have a nightmare that you have done something quite dreadful, you wake up and gradually feel relief that it was all a bad dream? Well for Tom Ripley that nightmare is true, settling as a fact of life that has to be absorbed, painted over and put away in order that he can flourish.

The fascinating and various European geographical settings add depth to the reading experience. The stories are set some while ago but do come across as fresh and contemporary. Only the use of the telephone, travel arrangements and topical points take you back a few decades. Beautiful Belle Ombre, the Ripley home in France, near enough to Paris for convenience but rural and sleepy in its urban preoccupations, becomes completely real. An oasis of domestic bliss all held together by redoubtable Mme. Annette, every home should have such a domestic goddess, eager to entertain, innocently discreet and kind, in love with the house and family she serves.

I just couldn't help willing Ripley on, crossing everything that his increasingly complicated arrangements and plans would succeed. I was so sad when it all stopped, I wanted to stay with him in Belle Ombre and enjoy the atmosphere for even longer. I was definitely left wanting more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fictional morality, 3 Feb 2006
By 
Bruno - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Talented Mr. Ripley (Paperback)
Its a brave or stupid person who enters the world of Patricia Highsmith expecting a few hours of pulp fiction reading, 200 pages of standard and comfortable case solved, bad guy caught style crime writing. Instead, be prepared to find yourself rooting for a character who can kill in cold blood and feel little or no shame so long as he can cover those feelings with the more amenable sensations that italian wine, sunsets and lira can afford. What makes this all the more disturbing is the recogniton that for us to involve ourselves with him, Ripley must be a very human and likeable character. If we see something of ourselves in him, what is it that differentiates us - the fact that he appears to have no conscience, or the fact that he has the talent to convince himself that an appalling act can make the world so much better for him?
Tom Ripley is indeed one of the classic characters in modern fiction, borne from the mind of a talented and unique author. This is the book one should start with in any attempt to explore that mind, but take care!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost the 21st century and we still haven't caught up, 11 Sep 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Talented Mr. Ripley (Paperback)
Almost the 21st century and we still haven't caught up to Patricia Highsmith. This first 'Mr. Ripley' is the highmark in psychological thrillers. Have you ever wanted to be someone else? Mr. Ripley shows you -- not only how but why.
Latch onto this book before the sure-to-be-dreadful movie comes out this Christmas. (With Gwyneth Paltrow as Marge, you know Hollywood has headed off in the wrong direction.)
You'll never have another house guest again . . .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect a book of the film, 31 Oct 2013
By 
M. L. Rendle "Malcolm L. Rendle" (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Talented Mr. Ripley (Paperback)
This was a great story, however having enjoyed the film, and visited many of the locations, I was a little disappointed how the book differed so much from the film. I know this is usual, but, I think that it is testament to how well the film was made and how they developed the story into a watch able and very tense thriller. Unfortunately this tainted my enjoyment of the book as key elements which were pivotal in the film were not in the book. However the characters who are there are spot on in fact, Matt Damon could not have been bettered for the part of Tom Ripley.
On balance if you read this book with no pre conceived expectations it will be very enjoyable.
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The Talented Mr. Ripley
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (Paperback - 5 Aug 1999)
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