The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

Wow. I really enjoyed this book, much more than I expected to. Tom Ripley is one creepy son-of-a-bitch sociopath, in a way that Matt Damon (bless him) wasn’t really able to convey. Nor is Marge quite as obnoxious and silly in the movie as she is in the book. Really, the only person in the movie version who was properly cast was Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf. The movie’s entertaining and well done, but read the book.

Also, there’s one crucial detail in the book that’s not in the movie, which is a shame: Dickie’s murder in the movie is an accident, a mistake – in the book, it’s 100% premeditated and millions time creepier. Which makes it so much better.

“He hated becoming Thomas Ripley again, hated being nobody, hated putting on his old set of habits again, and feeling that people looked down on him and were bored with him unless he put on an act for them like a clown, feeling incompetent and incapable of doing anything with himself except entertaining people for minutes at a time. He hated going back to himself as he would have hated putting on a shabby suit of clothes, a grease-spotted, unpressed suit of clothes that had not been very good even when it was new.
…He couldn’t give up the idea that it might all blow over. Just might. And for that reason it was senseless to be despondent. It was senseless to be despondent anyway, even as Tom Ripley. Tom Ripley had never really been despondent, though he had often looked it. Hadn’t he learned something from these last months? If you wanted to be cheerful, or melancholic, or wistful, or thoughtful, or courteous, you simply had to act those things with every gesture.”

Verdict: four out of five stars

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