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The Boy Who Followed Ripley (Ripley #4)

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,878 Ratings  ·  129 Reviews
In this quietly terrifying exploration of trust and friendship, a troubled young runaway arrives in Villeperce. And when, on the boy's behalf, Tom Ripley is drawn from his lovely estate in the French countryside to Berlin's seamy underworld and into a kidnapping plot that requires the most bizarre methods--and sinister acumen--for intervention, the icily amoral Ripley is t ...more
Paperback, 292 pages
Published November 2nd 1993 by Vintage (first published 1980)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 17, 2016 Alex rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: closeted, pretentious gay men from the 50s
Shelves: 2016
I was in this Berlin bar the other night called The Glad Ass with my friend the teenaged runaway, and it was so weird, it had only guys in it.* Eventually I was like Ohhhh, I get it, it's a gay bar! Totally accidental that I ended up there. So we went to another bar, me and this boy I've decided to gallivant around Europe with for no particular reason,** and the weirdest thing: it turned out that was a gay bar too! Lots of men in drag! I was like lol, are there even any straight bars in Europe? ...more
Dec 06, 2015 Darwin8u rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
"We live in the age of the refugee, the age of the exile."
-- Ariel Dorfman


This was a slippery Highsmith. Ripley coldly floats between two steep cliffs. He isn't necessarily a likable or even sympathetic narrator, but still manages to be someone it is natural to root for.

With the first three books in the Riplad, I bought into the idea that Tom Ripley was absolutely amoral. But that expecation, that setup, makes this novel seem even more crafty. Highsmith bends genders, flips expecations, dodges
Isaac Cooper
Mar 10, 2014 Isaac Cooper rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Oh, no.

The Boy Who Followed Ripley, judged based on its own merits, is a boring book that has almost no tension or excitement in it whatsoever. I feel blasphemous writing that, especially from just previously finishing the superb Ripley’s Game. This, in fact, is the first Highsmith novel I have actually abandoned (with about fifty pages left to go).

So, what went wrong?

Well, I think this reaffirms my belief that writing any type of series cannot – and will never – be done successfully. There i
Feb 21, 2012 Tfitoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night, lit
I think I was about 14 pages in before I said to myself, "wow, Patricia Highsmith was a talented writer." It was clear almost instantly that this was a different type of Ripley book but the way she writes meant that it didn't matter. Her understanding of Tom Ripley and her ability to set the tone and atmosphere of a novel means that it doesn't matter whether his behaviour is that of a sociopath or murderer or curious old man or kindly uncle or bag lady as it's almost impossible not to enjoy it.

Bruce Beckham
Oct 03, 2015 Bruce Beckham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think once hooked by Tom Ripley you will enjoy any of his exploits, and in my case I found this – the fourth in the five-strong ‘Ripliad’ – to be no exception.

On reflection, however, ‘enjoy’ is perhaps too generous a word – for Tom is your friendly neighbourhood psychopath, and not to be taken lightly.

I must remember to re-read the first in the series – The Talented Mr Ripley – to work out just how Patricia Highsmith tricked me into siding with him!

This novel skims along in the author’s effect
نزار شهاب الدين
As I was approaching the end of Ripley's Game (Ripley #3), I felt sorry that I had only two more novels to finish the series. So far, Mrs. Highsmith managed to keep me on the hook with her formula: Ripley's ruthless unethical yet strangely admirable character, care for details that bring scenes to life, and well kept rhythm with action and tension at just the right level and coming out of the blue many a time.

However, as I approached half the way in this book with hardly an event worth of narrat
Lord Beardsley
Aug 15, 2011 Lord Beardsley rated it did not like it
Shelves: read2011
This book was very strange and disconnected. Sometimes, I wonder how similar of people Highsmith and Ripley really were/are/etc. While reading this, I felt like Highsmith was grudgingly trying to explore more of her "fun" side. Mr Ripley listens to Lou Reed's 'Transformer' (whoa!), reads 'Christopher and His Kind' (will Ripley FINALLY deal with his 'mo tendencies?!) and Heloise even reads some WH Auden...all names dropped as build-up to set against the main backdrop of Berlin in the late 70s/ear ...more
M.J. Johnson
The Boy Who Followed Ripley (1980) was, I am very sorry to say, a bit of an ordeal. If it had been anyone other than Patricia Highsmith I think I would have stuck to my fifty pages rule and jumped ship! The story had potential but Highsmith just meanders and rambles on, giving us page after page of detail about the most inconsequential details of domestic life. There is also a strange sexual ambiguity about Ripley’s association with Frank, the boy of the title, which I found repetitious and anno ...more
Mar 26, 2015 allimo rated it it was ok
Recommended to allimo by: Bobbyliu
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carol Masciola
I'm a big admirer of Patricia Highsmith and have read lots of her books, however, I couldn't help feeling like she knocked this thing out for the money. In this installment of the Ripley series, 16-year-old heir to a fortune Frank Pierson comes to Ripley's town in France to meet him, for reasons that are vague at best, confesses that he has pushed his father, in a wheelchair, off a cliff to his death behind their estate in Kennebunkport, Maine. Ripley spends the entire book looking after this yo ...more
Becky Black
Aug 17, 2015 Becky Black rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 30, 2014 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I am never really bored by this writer, the kidnapping of the “boy” is the most engaging section of this novel. Though some may find Frank Pierson an interesting character, I was soon disappointed to see that he was reduced to a maudlin mass of ennui. There is nothing exciting or dramatic (or even interesting, for that matter) in a character who essentially "mopes" his way through an entire novel, brooding on the boorish notion that his girlfriend has gone off with another boy because h ...more
It's gotten to the point for me where Highsmith 'can do no wrong' - meaning that I read each fresh bk in full expectation that she'll have thoughtfully explored the subject at hand in ways that avoid clichés & that show her ever-shifting skill as a crime fiction / psychological thriller writer. &, as usual, this bk is not a disappointment. I don't want this review to have too many 'spoilers' so I'll resist outlining the whole plot. Suffice it to say that where most mediocre writers wd en ...more
Mar 01, 2008 Dan rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
this fourth entry into the "ripley" series is a strange one. as a narrative, it's a bit sloppier than its predecessors. its lack of focus makes for a disappointing follow-up to ripley's game, my favorite highsmith novel thus far (i've read 6). ripley's covert homoeroticism crosses over into more overt territory here, with mixed (and occassionally ridiculous) results.

the most compelling thing about the book is its almost lop-sided construction. the final act is probably the most interesting, and
Apr 15, 2013 Chris rated it it was ok
A frustrating read. I can't quite decide if Highsmith is being too subtle for me, but on the whole I think not. The plot unfolds without much fanfare, or frankly much excitement. Everything seems to be under control most of the time, so we're left mostly to deal with the relationship between the boy and Ripley. But I found that she didn't really dare to get deeply into it. Homosexuality/bisexuality is more than hinted at here, but she seems to back off of really exploring it. It's clear that Rip ...more
Lou Robinson
May 25, 2013 Lou Robinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm still loving the Ripley series. In "The Boy Who Followed Ripley", we spend the best part of the book away from Villeperce as Tom and his young American friend, Frank, travel to Germany and eventually back to the USA. There aren't as many bodies here, certainly not so many murders perpetuated by Ripley. But still plenty of dark humour and some amusing scenes where Tom dresses up in drag to disguise himself in order to identify and follow Frank's kidnappers.
This is book 4 out of 5, so I think
Definitely not as fascinating as the Ripley trilogy, but still a decent read, especially after a more demanding read.
Aug 09, 2008 Martin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
maybe 2.5. stars, but no more than that.
rather weak in terms of plot and characters, getting increasingly boring and tedious after page 100 (of 290).
anybody interested in the ripley-novels should of course go for the excellent first book, the talented mister ripley, then, with the momentum of the first book, quickly read the second one, ripley under ground, which ist definitely nothing special, but a decent read and then enjoy the excellent third book of the series, ripley's game ... and then le
Dec 23, 2015 J rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Something of a weaker title in the Ripley series. Tom's motivations in this book are a lot more opaque and I think that's something of a flaw. Clearly there's some identification between he and Frank and this is the closest Highsmith has come to outright discussing his sexual desires save for some allusions in the first book to Tom's homosexuality (or homosexual tendencies at any rate). But there's also this tendency in the books to sort of kind of leave the book at a certain point where there's ...more
David Cranmer
Frank Pierson, son of a recently deceased American entrepreneur, is a troubled sixteen-year-old, who runs away to France and searches out Tom Ripley. Ripley takes a paternal fondness to the teen and gives him a job gardening, later discovering the youth has killed the senior Pierson. Ripley begins mentoring Frank with the hopes that he will be able to find sustainability in society, as he did, but events transpire against his better intentions when Frank is kidnapped and held for ransom in West ...more
Apr 08, 2014 Philipc rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Two stars means it was ok, ok? Not great, but not unreadable, either. The two stars is a pity, because I've been on a Highsmith reading jag, or rather a Ripley jag. Highsmith's stock is on the rise, you see, and quite rightly so. So, like I said (did I say?), two stars is a bit of pity.

"The Persian Boy" was published in 1972. This fact is not so tangential as you might suppose, because The Boy etc. was also published in 1972. Both are by women (TPB is by Mary Renault, but I bet you knew that alr
Mar 20, 2016 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this fourth book in the Tom Ripley series. Although Tom is sometimes a callous and calculating murderer I still cannot help liking him. I really want him to get away with everything! The main theme that has woven through each of the Ripley books (so far) has been that of consciousness. In this book the boy (Frank) has a strong conscious unlike Tom who lacks it. It explores the different sides of Tom's personality, not just the bad but also the good.
David Anderson
Jul 27, 2014 David Anderson rated it it was amazing
Wow, Highsmith throws you yet another curve-ball with this novel. Some of the peer reviews here discount this entry in the series but I think they misunderstand what Highsmith was up to here and drastically underrate it. Despite all appearances, I hesitate to even call it a crime novel. A young American boy, Frank, the heir of a very wealthy family, kills his father and flees to France to hide from his guilt, though everyone thinks it was either an accident or suicide. But Frank knows better. Fr ...more
Nov 28, 2008 Eric_W rated it really liked it
Our amoral friend Ripley, living with Heloise in France, is approached by a mysterious young man, who it is revealed, has killed his father and is seeking refuge in France, both from his family, who do not believe he is guilty, and from his conscience, which knows he is culpable. Ripley assumes the unusual role of "good guy" in this novel. After Frank, the young man, is kidnapped, Ripley goes to extreme lengths to successfully help his young friend.
Henar SP
He disfrutado como una enana de otro más de mi serie favorita de Patricia Highsmith, Tras los pasos de Ripley.
Esta vez Tom Ripley conoce a un jovencisimo chico americano, Frank Pierson, que ha huido a Francia desde América abandonando a su riquisima familia, al amor por una muchacha...y dejando atrás un pasado que le angustia y le destroza. En su línea de novela negra, hay un secuestro en el Berlín del Muro, magníficamente recreado, asesinatos, y mucha acción, aunque sorprende que esta vez la a
Caspar Ewals
De Ripley reeks blijft boeien, alhoewel dit het deel is waarin het "minst" gebeurd. In dit boek is het niet Tom Ripley die zijn duistere praktijken uitvoert, maar ontfermt hij zich over een rijke Amerikaanse jongen, Frank Pierson, die hem toevertrouwt dat hij zijn steenrijke vader vermoord heeft. Ripley heeft veel symapthie voor de jongen. Gedurende een gedeelte van het boek blijf je jezelf afvragen waarom dit het geval is. Probeert hij hier weer een slaatje uit te slaan of is het oprechte inter ...more
Feb 03, 2009 Margaret rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychological
I thought the work was daring.

Highsmith challenges Ripley and herself by giving Ripley a protegé.
He has a wife, but he chose carefully a woman with similar taste and an independent life.
Ripley, whose life depends on secrets now has someone in his life who is not independent. As the title states, he is a boy. A boy needs a man to guide him. Is Ripley the right choice?

Alison C
Mar 18, 2015 Alison C rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Boy Who Followed Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith, is the fourth in her five-book series about Tom Ripley, the amoral psychopath who has so captured readers' (and viewers') hearts over the years. Here, Tom is living a quiet life in suburban France, with a wealthy yet accommodatingly incurious wife, when a young American boy comes into his life. "Billy," or "Frank" as he is more properly called, is the younger son of a very wealthy family, the father of which has recently died, apparently by his ...more
Andy Moss
Ouch. I need to get around to reading that Highsmith bio to see what was going on with this. It is really not very good. There is hardly any plot and when the only action does occur (the kidnapping) its over pretty quickly and still it just goes on and on, mainly just as an itinerary of method of transport. The kidnapping itself is very odd. I couldn't work out why Ripley decides to kill one of the kidnappers just to see if they would try for another meeting. He doesn't seem in the least bit con ...more
Jürgen Vogel
Vierter Teil der Reihe um Tom Ripley.

Immer wieder habe ich mich selbst dabei überraschen müssen, wie unglaublich sympathisch ich diesen Tom Ripley finde, obwohl er doch bereits mehrere Menschen ermordet hat und letztlich sein äußert angenehmes Dasein auf Kosten anderer genießt. Zwar quälen ihn immer wieder auch Gewissensbisse, jedoch nie so sehr, dass sie es ihm unmöglich machen würden weiterzuleben wie bisher und sich aufs Neue in ungesetzliche, ja verbrecherische Handlungen zu verstricken. In
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Patricia Highsmith was an American novelist who is known mainly for her psychological crime thrillers which have led to more than two dozen film adaptations over the years.

She lived with her grandmother, mother and later step-father (her mother divorced her natural father six months before 'Patsy' was born and married Stanley Highsmith) in Fort Worth before moving with her parents to New York in
More about Patricia Highsmith...

Other Books in the Series

Ripley (5 books)
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley (Ripley, #1)
  • Ripley Under Ground (Ripley, #2)
  • Ripley's Game (Ripley, #3)
  • Ripley Under Water (Ripley, #5)

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“Odd, Tom thought, that some girls meant sadness and death. Some girls looked like sunlight, creativity, joy, but they really meant death, and not even because the girls were enticing their victims, in fact one might blame the boys for being deceived by—nothing at all, simply imagination.” 0 likes
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