the talented mr ripley

Tom Ripley is struggling to stay one step ahead of his creditors and the law, when an unexpected acquaintance offers him a free trip to Europe and chance to start over.

Ripley wants money, success and the good life and he’s willing to kill for it. When his new-found happiness is threatened, his response is as swift as it is shocking.

 It is rare to have vastly differing opinions on one book, but not unknown to our group … and something that Highsmith’s Mr Ripley managed this month. Denise found that the constant, repetitive internal dialogue of the main character (Mr Ripley himself) tediously dull and uninspiring. She felt the description of another hotel room, restaurant, train trip etc … would send her over the edge! Not only did she not like Mr Ripley, she had no interest in what would befall him (or those around him) next.

In direct contrast was Anne who thought the whole story clever … a psychological thriller that held her throughout the entire book. The impending likelihood that Ripley would be caught kept the reader in a perpetual state of speculation and doubt.

The perfect result for such a novel.

Other comments tended towards the positive. Some found it ‘quirky and funny’, others thought the sense of place was wonderfully done, bringing Venice in particular alive. We managed to do quite a good job of psychoanalysing Mr Ripley and although we considered him a most unhealthy individual, we generally agreed that he was not a completely ruthless psychopath. More like your average everyday schizophrenic who sees no obstacle too difficult on the way to his aim. Would he have killed Dickie if the need had not presented itself? This is something we, as mere readers will never know, but the odds are good and thankfully, for those of us who want more of Mr Ripley, Highsmith has provided such through two more Ripley adventures – Ripley Under Water and The Boy who Followed Ripley.

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