I have heard that the last two in the series continue to diminish in quality, but I m still looking forward to reading them.
You cannot but help feeling sympathy for Tom Ripley Ok he is psychopathic, he longs for the good things in life and does not shy away from murder to get to where he has to be Tom has to be rich and he has to have all the beautiful things in life A stunning wife who plays the harp and speaks with a quirky accent, they have yellow silk sofas and a cleaner who comes every day if this life style requires a murder or many murders, so be it A dangerous man with his own warped values Alain Delon played him very well in the French adaptation in the 50ies, but the books are so much better than the films Patricia Highsmith at her best.
Three of Patricia Highsmith s best Ripley novels in one hardbound volume While I feel there is some fall off between THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY and the books that followed, all three are nonetheless entertaining and good Having them together is a treat.
read The Talented Mr Ripley only I look forward to returning to the series P Highsmith is unrivalled how does she do it The ratty mundanity, the worldly glamour, and of course, Tom Ripley, that incredibly sympathetic psychopath Amazing.
I saw the movie years ago If I remember correctly the ending was a little different The second and third novels cover new ground.
Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography cclapcenter.
com I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP it is not being illegally reposted here The CCLaP 100 In which I attempt over the next two years to read a hundred so called classic novels for the first time, then write reports on whether or not I think they deserve the labelThis week The Ripley Trilogy, by Patricia Highsmith 1955 1972 Review 5 of this essay series The story in a nutshell Known collectively as the Ripley Trilogy, these three small novels by Patricia Highsmith tell the ongoing tale of one Tom Ripley, one of thefascinating characters in the entirety of 20th century literature And note, by the way, that Highsmith would go on to pen even twobooks about Ripley after this original trilogy the five book series is now known by its fans as the Ripliad Charming sociopath, vicious murderer, with a hyper specific set of ethics that make sense only to him, Ripley and his exploits virtually defined the burgeoning crime fiction genre at its beginning, and helped define many of its standards right when it was just starting to become the marketplace juggernaut it still is in America and elsewhere.
That said, I think most will agree that the original 1955 novel that started them all, The Talented Mr Ripley, is far and away the best of the entire series a look at the young Ripley in his mid twenties, heading to Europe for the first time, and the experiences that would turn him for good from a harmless sociopathic con artist into the cold blooded killer he is in the other four books It s a great little story, in fact, that I won t get into detail concerning so as to not ruin it for you a story that very clearly defines many of the aspects we now take so much for granted in crime fiction, wrapped in an ingeniously dark plot regarding resort hopping in Europe with the jet set during the aesthetic height of the Modernist era In contrast, then, both Ripley Under Ground and Ripley s Game set in the same 1970s when they were written find Ripley himself at a softer middle age, ensconced in small town bourgeoisie French life and leaving the action part of the crime plots mostly up to others now The argument for it being a classic As you can probably guess, fans of the Ripley stories claim that they virtually defined the crime genre that now accounts forbook sales in the US than any other type of book that exists as such, they argue, the books should rightly be considered classics, despite their relatively young age and genre status And for sure, a different group of activists would argue, the original 55 Talented Mr Ripley was also one of the first mainstream American novels to tackle the issue of homosexuality in a complex and multifaceted way indeed, Highsmith was known for this subject throughout the length of her career, as well as being a public and practicing bisexual in her real life It s a stretch for now, even her fans concede, to consider these in the same breath as Great Expectations and the like the main argument comes from her most diehard fans, frankly, and I think isabout trying to establish how the future and posterity are going to look at the series The argument againstReally Crime books from the 1970s Included in the classical canon of all Western Civilization Seriously I think that s pretty much the main argument against these being a classic, summed up in a smartass nutshell that they are simply too new, concern too niche a subject, and in the end are simply not written well enough to be seriously considered classics, or at least for now As is the case with a lot of books on the CCLaP 100 list, in fact, even its critics I think would agree that the Ripley books are at least well written, and still very entertaining to just sit down and read a strong argument can be made, though, that these books shouldn t nearly be considered by society at large as books to read before you die My verdict I have to confess, I ended up with this whole screwed up story behind trying to read these I got through the first, The Talented Mr Ripley, fairly quickly and straight forwardly mostly because of already being a big fan of the 1999 movie version starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett and a whole lotcool famous people , but then accidentally read the third book Ripley s Game instead of the second Ripley Under Ground , and didn t really like it so never bothered to read the third er, secondugh But ultimately it doesn t matter, like I said, because it s the first book that really stands out here I want to make that clear, in fact, that The Talented Mr Ripley is still quite the engripping little yarn, both the book and movie form, despite me not willing to endorse it as a classic Ultimately Highsmith does something incredibly smart here in this first story, as far as exploring such dark topics as sociopathy and bisexuality in an age where you could get in real trouble for talking about such stuff too explicitly she instead turns the subjects inward towards Ripley himself, and shows how it is certain core parts of his personality that manifest such easily labeled behaviors afterwards, not vice versa.
In the first novel, in fact, it s hard to definitively state that Ripley has a sexual orientation at all it sthat he s simply obsessed with the idea of pleasing the people around him at all times, this desperate yearning inside of him to make sure that everyone else is having a good time, in any way that he can provide that In effect it provides for some really great homoerotically charged scenes between Ripley and his future victim, globetrotting badboy Dickie Greenleaf, without anything explicitly sexual being said or done combined with all the cat and mouse stuff that happens concerning the ensuing crimes themselves, you can see why so many thousands of authors in the decades since have gone on to copy things from Highsmith in their own crime novels, or copy things from people who copied things from Highsmith.
But alas, that s why my interest dropped so suddenly after the second novel, and why I say that the other two books of the trilogy are essentially interchangeable because it was by then 20 years later in Highsmith s career, a point when crime fiction really had taken off and become its own booming little industry, and Highsmith was already starting to look at the Ripley character in terms of a franchise friendly little cash cow The Ripley of both Under Ground and Game and presumably the two after those as well is a fatter, slower,complacent middle age Ripley, who mostly now masterminds white collar crimes as to maintain his provincial middle class antique laden lifestyle in a medieval village in France, now in a happy if not passionless marriage and no longer under any particular pressure to have a sexual preference at all Each book, then, concerns yet another special time where Ripley is called out of this environment, to go on some crazy violence filled escapade just like from his troubled youth, in many cases with someone else altogether now being the one doing most of the running around and stabbing and garrotting and the like.
Bleh Skip the ensuing franchise, I say, and simply read the original instead, the strongest argument there is for Ripley to be considered part of the Canon Oh, and do make sure to see the 99 movie adaptation as well, a truly excellent one that on top of everything else just happened to be directed by Anthony Minghella The English Patient Is it a classic No Today I finished Ripley s Game, the third book in Patricia Highsmith s Tom Ripley series It all started a few summers ago when I found The Talented Mr Ripley in a thrift store It was engrossing, one of the most suspenseful novels I had ever read Then I read a great book called Nom De Plume, which had a chapter about Highsmith writing The Price Of Salt under a pseudonym It also piqued my interest in Highsmith s life outside of her writing I ve talked about the snails thing right She once went to a party with a head of lettuce and a hundred snails in her purse She said they were her date for the evening I am understandably a little bit obsessed Her personal life was fascinating Her novels suck you in and you can t put it down, even when its dark and there has been a cougar attack in your neighborhood and you should be paying attention to walking home safely but you can t put the book down.
Although the long con that is the subject of book two, Ripley Underground inst nearly as intense as Tom single white female ing Dickie Greenleaf, Highsmith is still able to achieve a heart racing climax All the while maintaining the measured, level tone of Tom Ripley I like that she writes suspense with out chaos Yes Ripley s rages lead to murders, but he is always so calm before and after The murders he commits are like a strike of lightning like the reverse eye of a storm.
Ripley s Game returns to a darker,violent con After being insulted by a poor man with Lukemia at a party Ripley decides that his revenge will be to convince this man to kill some folks Which he does cause he needs the money and there is a whole mafia thing, and a bomb I m trying not to spoil too much here Just read it All of them.
I feel so ignorant I was watching Wenders The American Friend back in January I had seen it before once in the 70s, when it first came out back then I was not familiar with the films of Samuel Fuller nor did I know the name Nicholas Ray both who appear in the film and when I saw somewhere in the credits based on the book Ripley s Game by Patricia Highsmith I remembered the movie with John Malkovich and I did not connect these two films as partaking of the same story or same protagonist the calm and collected and somewhat philosophic killer portrayed by Malkovich appeared to share none of the DNA of the pre Blue Velvet Dennis Hopper And then, when I found out it was same Ripley as the pathetic closet case in the film The Talented Mr Ripley I ve never been good with names which I also found out that the same novel The Talented Mr Ripley was adapted into a 1960 French film Purple Noon thank God for the Criterion Collection on Hulu Plus , but did not share the same characterization of Mr Ripley as the 1999 American movie, I decided to investigate the roots of the seemingly disparate Thomas Ripleys And when I read the books, I visualized a different Ripley than all of the above BTW The American Friend was based on both Ripley s Game and Ripley Underground .
Book Jacket Status Jacketed Three Classic Crime Novels By A Master Of The Macabre Appear Here Together In Hardcover For The First TimeSuave, Agreeable, And Completely Amoral, Patricia Highsmith S Hero, The Inimitable Tom Ripley, Stops At Nothing Not Even Murder To Accomplish His Goals In Achieving For Himself The Opulent Life That He Was Denied As A Child, Ripley Shows Himself To Be A Master Of Illusion And Manipulation And A Disturbingly Sympathetic Combination Of Genius And Psychopath As Highsmith Navigates The Mesmerizing Tangle Of Ripley S Deadly And Sinister Games, She Turns The Mystery Genre Inside Out And Takes Us Into The Mind Of A Man Utterly Indifferent To EvilThe Talented Mr RipleyIn A Chilling Literary Hall Of Mirrors, Patricia Highsmith Introduces Tom Ripley Like A Hero In A Latter Day Henry James Novel, Is Sent To Italy With A Commission To Coax A Prodigal Young American Back To His Wealthy Father But Ripley Finds Himself Very Fond Of Dickie Greenleaf He Wants To Be Like Him Exactly Like Him Suave, Agreeable, And Utterly Amoral, Ripley Stops At Nothing Certainly Not Only One Murder To Accomplish His Goal Turning The Mystery Form Inside Out, Highsmith Shows The Terrifying Abilities Afforded To A Man Unhindered By The Concept Of EvilRipley Under GroundIn This Harrowing Illumination Of The Psychotic Mind, The Enviable Tom Ripley Has A Lovely House In The French Countryside, A Beautiful And Very Rich Wife, And An Art Collection Worthy Of A Connoisseur But Such A Gracious Life Has Not Come Easily One Inopportune Inquiry, One Inconvenient Friend, And Ripley S World Will Come Tumbling Down Unless He Takes Decisive Steps In A Mesmerizing Novel That Coolly Subverts All Traditional Notions Of Literary Justice, Ripley Enthralls Us Even As We Watch Him Perform Acts Of Pure And Unspeakable EvilRipley S GameConnoisseur Of Art, Harpsichord Aficionado, Gardener Extraordinaire, And Genius Of Improvisational Murder, The Inimitable Tom Ripley Finds His Complacency Shaken When He Is Scorned At A Posh Gala While An Ordinary Psychopath Might Repay The Insult With Some Mild Act Of Retribution, What Ripley Has In Mind Is Far Subtle, And Infinitely Sinister A Social Slight Doesn T Warrant Murder Of Course Just A Chain Of Events That May Lead To It