The Talented Mr. Ripley
Since his debut in 1955, Tom Ripley has evolved into the ultimate bad boy sociopath. Here, in the first Ripley novel, we are introduced to suave Tom Ripley, a young striver, newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan. A product of a broken home, branded a "sissy" by his dismissive Aunt Dottie, Ripley meets a wealthy industrialist who hires him to bring his playboy son, Dickie Greenleaf, back from gallivanting in Italy. Soon Ripley's fascination with Dickie's debonair lifestyle turns obsessive as he finds himself enraged by Dickie's ambivalent affections for Marge, a charming American dilettante. A dark reworking of Henry James's The Ambassadors, The Talented Mr. Ripley serves as an unforgettable introduction to this smooth confidence man, whose talent for murder and self-invention is chronicled in four subsequent Ripley novels.
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Highsmith's subversive touch is in making the reader complicit with Ripley's cold logic.
[Highsmith] forces us to re-evaluate the lines between reason and madness, normal and abnormal, while goading us into sharing her treacherous hero's point of view.--Michiko Kakutani
[Tom Ripley] is as appalling a protagonist as any mystery writer has ever created.
Savage in the way of Rabelais or Swift.--Joyce Carol Oates
For eliciting the menace that lurks in familiar surroundings, there's no one like Patricia Highsmith.
Murder, in Patricia Highsmith's hands, is made to occur almost as casually as the bumping of a fender or a bout of food poisoning. This downplaying of the dramatic... has been much praised, as has the ordinariness of the details with which she depicts the daily lives and mental processes of her psychopaths. Both undoubtedly contribute to the domestication of crime in her fiction, thereby implicating the reader further in the sordid fantasy that is being worked out.--Robert Towers
The brilliance of Highsmith's conception of Tom Ripley was her ability to keep the heroic and demonic American dreamer in balance in the same protagonist--thus keeping us on his side well after his behavior becomes far more sociopathic than that of a con man like Gatsby.--Frank Rich
[Highsmith] has created a world of her own--a world claustrophobic and irrational which we enter each time with a sense of personal danger.--Graham Greene
Mesmerizing...a Ripley novel is not to be safely recommended to the weak-minded or impressionable.