I doubt that I will ever like another antiheroe as much as Tom Ripley. Maybe Dorian Gray? Almost.
Tom Ripley is sent to Europe by Mr. Greenleaf to bring his son, "Dickie", back to the United States. Tom is a nobody who is bedazzled by Dickie's rich and bohemian lifestyle once he meets him in Southern Italy. Tom becomes Dickie's friend, and everything seems fine until Tom decides he wants to be more than his friend.
As in the "Picture of Dorian Gray", you will not learn life lessons or come out as a better person from reading "The Talented Mr. Ripley", and that is why I like him: he is a real character, like there are so many among us, who also deserves to be the star of books. Why is he one of my favorite characters in literature?
“I can’t make up my mind whether I like men or women,” he jokes, “so I’m thinking of giving them both up.”
“They were not friends. They didn't know each other. It struck Tom like a horrible truth, true for all time, true for the people he had known in the past and for those he would know in the future: each had stood and would stand before him, and he would know time and time again that he would never know them, and the worst was that there would always be the illusion, for a time, that he did know them, and that he and they were completely in harmony and alike. For an instant the wordless shock of his realization seemed more than he could bear.”
"He loved possessions, not masses of them, but a select few that he did not part with. They gave a man self-respect. Not ostentation but quality, and the love that cherished the quality. Possessions reminded him that he existed, and made him enjoy his existence. It was as simple as that. And wasn't that worth something? He existed. Not many people in the world knew how to, even if they had the money. It really didn't take money, masses of money, it took a certain security."
“He remembered that right after that, he had stolen a loaf of bread from a delicatessen counter and had taken it home and devoured it, feeling that the world owed a loaf of bread to him, and more.”
“If you wanted to be cheerful, or melancholic, or wistful , or thoughtful, or courteous, you simply had to act those things with every gesture.”
In addition to this wonderful character, Patricia Highsmith's skills as a writer are to be highlighted. Tom's joy about the anticipation of having his dreams come true and his apprehension about the possibility of such dreams being shattered are a delight to read. I could not help siding with him the entire time, despite the fact that he is anything but a role model.
I do have an issue with the credibility of the plot at times. Perhaps, the guilibility of the characters in this novel reflects that of people's at a certain place and time - rich Americans and the Italian police of 1955 Italy - but sometimes the plot surpasses the line of reality and reason. In addition, I wish that Dickie and Marge had been developed a bit more in depth, considering the important role they play in justifying some of Tom's actions, because Tom's attitude towards them can seem gratuitous.
Despite these minor flaws, this is one of my favorite novels by the talented Ms. Highsmith, who is also one of my favorite writers.
- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: VINTAGE ARROW - MASS MARKET; 1 edition (15 October 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780099282877
- ISBN-13: 978-0099282877
- ASIN: 0099282879
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 195 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 123,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)