‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ by Patricia Highsmith

My Review (5 stars out of 5)

Striving to avoid his debts, Tom Ripley is given an opportunity when a businessman offers him a free trip to Europe to track down the man’s errant offspring. With money in his pocket and a talent for forgery, Ripley sets out to create a new life for himself – along with a new identity.

To say this book came out in 1955, it pulls no punches in terms of its plotline. Well-known for the movie version (with Matt Damon and Jude Law), it holds up very well more than fifty years on. Back in February of this year I read Highsmith’s ‘Strangers on a Train’ and was left with niggling doubts about the author’s talent. But with ‘Ripley’ her writing style is markedly improved and even knowing the story pretty well (although the movie did make some changes), the book kept me riveted all the way through. Seeing everything from Ripley’s POV gives us an insight into how his mind works – the constant anxieties that he may be found out and exposed as a fraud and a murderer at any moment give him a vulnerability that belie his actions.

A stonking good read.

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