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The Boy Who Followed Ripley (Ripley #4)

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  1,542 ratings  ·  105 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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Community Reviews

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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
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.

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
Isaac Cooper
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
Jan 29, 2015 allimo rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to allimo by: Bobbyliu
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lord Beardsley
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
Before I start, let me tell you that I hate back covers summaries because they give away all the plot and it takes some suspense out off the book (view spoiler)

So I started li
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 3 of 5 stars
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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?

Allan MacDonell
Some people knock Patricia Highsmith for being too staid. Not staid as in reluctant to ring in a recurring Lou Reed reference or dress her protagonist in drag and plop him down in a Berlin sex club. Staid in the sense that she observes her characters from a cold distance and allows them to proceed to their cliff’s edges and, in some cases, plunge on over without a lot of warm, analytical coddling. And what I have to say to those people is that I might have just given away Tom Ripley’s mode of op ...more
Eduardo Pérez Ríos

Además de su espíritu asesino y psicópata, la única constante en los libros de la saga de Ripley después de "El talentoso..." es el retrato de su ambigua sensibilidad emocional.

Ripley pareciera verse a sí mismo convertido en un monstruo, pero descubre su lado paternal y ve su historia reflejada en la atormentada vida de un adolescente que comienza a seguir sus pasos.

Pareciera que Highsmith quiso plagiarse a sí misma y trasladar la historia de "Extraños en un tren" al universo Ripley.

Habrá quie
I have been savoring reading this book for years. I mistakenly thought it was the fifth and final Tom Ripley book. I hated the idea that there was no more Tom Ripley. Now I realize that I read the firth book before the fourth one. I am going to reread the fifth so I get Tom Ripley the way Patricia Highsmith wanted to describe his life.

I was perplexed by this book. Maybe I have misjudged Tom Ripley. I kept waiting for his nefarious motives to be revealed. I think the $20K he received from the kid
Steven Drachman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
In this chapter of Patricia Highsmith saga, we met a fatherly-ish Ripley, or so it seems to me. We also met a Ripley in drag, and his latent homosexuality fascinates.
An American boy kills his father and fly to France to hide from his guilt. His name's Frank and he's the heir of a very wealthy family. Frank looks up for Tom because he read about him during the Derwatt affair, and decided to tell him everything. Tom took an interesting in the child and keep him at his house, then goes with him to
It is an interesting book.

When the title was first read, I would think that it is about a boy, Ripley protégé, learning and 'in training' to be Mr Ripley since the character has matured so much in the last 3 books. There are a few elements about it, however, I was more surprised to see a different side of Ripley that we don't encounter on the last 3 books. It seems like Highsmith wanting to give some personal touch on Ripley's character. We can now establish so much more about Ripley, who is mar
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I enjoyed the Berlin setting in this book. In this sequel, I
was hoping to maybe see some cracks in Ripley's cool exterior,
but the book did not go in that direction. There were many times
in the book that I wondered why Tom was so interested in this boy.
But after awhile, I realized that Ripley was possibly trying to
find a kindred spirit in the teenager, Frank; to make him into
another version of himself. But there can only be one Tom Ripley,
right? ;-)
Clifford Massie
this book was quite different from the first 3 books in the Ripley series. unlike its predecessors, there was only one murder (by Ripley- very ho-hum) and no fantastic stories to explain improbable situations (okay maybe a few). this book explored Ripley 's projection of his "angst" onto an impressionable teen. in the series this was Highsmith's most "overt" exploration of Ripley 's homosexuality. after all Ripley did dress in drag and did request a gay bar as the location where he thought he co ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jamison Spencer
I love Highsmith, and particularly the Ripley series, and I'm giving this four stars, but this was my least favorite of the series. Only the middle hundred pages, the kidnap plot, have the thriller structure typical of a Ripley book. The first and last hundred pages are more like a melodrama, as Ripley develops a fixation in a boy with obvious parallels to him circa TMR. The problem is the kid never really works on the page for me, and definitely never becomes as interesting to me as he is to Ri ...more
Steve Cardamenis
A very interesting fourth book in the series as Highsmith explores the Ripley character with more depth and we see Facets of Tom's character more deeply explored. However Tom is at heart a sociopath and thus cannot feel. He can explore various avenues of feeling but at his core, he is simply trying to experience feelings. This was a strange and fascinating read. I am looking forward to finishing the series and seeing where Highsmith as ultimately taken Ripley
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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)
The Talented Mr. Ripley (Ripley, #1) Strangers on a Train The Price of Salt Ripley's Game (Ripley, #3) Ripley Under Ground (Ripley, #2)

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