The critics loved it. Winner of 1956 Edgar, 1957 Grand Prix de Litterature Criminelle. I read about the first third and then read the last few pages. I was glad I skipped over it. Mr. Ripley was not very likable, or talented for that matter. I guess you could say there is character development since Tom definitely learns a few things about himself. The plot unfolded in some remarkable locations but didn't really put in much of an appearance. It is with a sigh that I admit to myself that one of the big awards is not a sure sign that everyone will like it.
When the reader accepts the amorality of our protagonist, Tom Ripley, the novel’s flow of events is strangely natural. The object of Tom’s attention is Dickie Greenleaf, a spoiled young American. Dickie’s wealthy father hires Tom to persuade Dickie to return home from Italy. Dickie is shallow and cruel, but Tom admires his pampered lifestyle. Tom begins to emulate Dickie’s dress and customs, often taking measures uncomfortable for the reader. As the story progressed, I began to see Tom’s actions as being born of his perceived necessity, rather than of malice. I could not help but root for Tom’s success. Unlike both film versions, Highsmith’s outcome is consistent with what one expects from a Ripley enterprise. I hope the reader will continue to enjoy Ripley’s exploits in Highsmith’s subsequent novels and, as I did, continue to root for the talented Mr. Ripley.
Having seen the movie, couldn't help but see Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow as Tom and Marge. It is set in the 1950s when the world was a very different place and the suspenseful plot hinges on slower communications. It would be interesting to see how Tom could utilise email, online banking, internet and mobile phones to achieve his ends.
After watching the movie I decided to read the book, because books are ALWAYS better. It was/is EXCELLENT! I blew through the series in 2 months. I just love spending time with Tom; such an interesting character. I think there's a little Ripley in all of us; wanting to hide from a world that doesn't respect us and reaching for a better life. Hopefully, we don't kill to get our way like Tom does.
It might be because it was written in 1955, in another time and in a different world, but I'll give it Highsmith her due anyway. The book is well written, that's not the problem. The problem is that the story feels old, and takes place a time that most will not recognize. The story is slow, but the suspense is there (even if it's in his head), even if you can't understand Tom's motives. Is he homosexual? Because the way he acts doesn't make sense to me. I mean wearing Richard's cloths, his rings? Bizarre in the least. And his jealousy over Richard's relation with Marge. He wants Richard all for himself. He's not interested in Marge in the least. Very strange. Very hard to find why Tom is acting the way he does. And to think that there are 4 more books about the guy. I'm not sure to be ready for it.
This was on a list of classic/must-read mysteries and I'm glad I picked it up! Very engaging writing. Tom Ripley is not a likeable character in the least yet I found myself hoping he would get away with murder...
Highsmith gets into the head of a madman like no other author. Very creepy.
This was a light and amusing novel. It requires somewhat of a suspension of the reader's logic in that the ineptitude of the various police agencies involved in the plot is sometimes a bit hard to believe.
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