Tom Ripley is young, charming and unstoppably ambitious.
What has now become a timeless classic, The Talented Mr Ripley is a thriller that delves deep into the mind of a disturbed young man. Utilising the subtle arts of deception and persuasion, Highsmith creates a bold tale of crime and murder, observing the psychotic tendencies underlying her compelling character in a chillingly casual way.
The novel begins in America, where Tom Ripley, with few prospects and little to his name, finds himself presented with an unexpected opportunity to live the high life. Crossing continents and social classes in the space of a few weeks, he arrives in the cultural paradise of Italy. Delving into a life of luxury, he soon experiences fineries and leisure the likes of which he had only before fantasised. Once he’s had a taste, however, it soon becomes clear he will stop at nothing to maintain it.
As the novel takes a darker turn, we begin to witness the schizophrenic thoughts and frightening rationale of this strikingly ambitious character. Utilising an abundance of charm, wit and venerous lies, Tom Ripley works his way through family and friendship, law and order, in his bid to hold on to his newly established life.
The first of the Ripley novels, it is here that Patricia Highsmith coins a truly compelling character in Mr Ripley, one who begs shock and horror, yet also an intrinsic desire to see him succeed. With an abundance of immorality and devious talents, Tom Ripley is indeed a classic anti-hero of the ages.
Length: 258 (Vintage)
Overall Rating: 4 stars