Eddie Watkins's Reviews > The Talented Mr. Ripley

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
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Sep 29, 14

bookshelves: american-fiction
Read in May, 2009

"Man, damn good book," I mumbled to myself as I turned the last page early this morning, far too early to express more substance or insight through the strange mental fog that renders me zombie-like yet still allows me to read with clarity, as what I read seeps down into my body & soul where nerves are racing and my palms are clammy while person after person files by examining me with suspicion for every indiscretion or deception I've ever committed. Deep in the fog I remember the lies I've told myself and others to cover up lies I've told all for the stimulation of puzzling my way through the sticky webs. I remember the exhilaration of getting away with the lies; the exhilaration of looking into the eyes of someone who believes my balderdash; balderdash I myself now believe in an ecstasy of self-revelation. I remember the sinking empty despair of imagining I've been found out, of the draining away of my identity through the mesh of devious self-invention, and I have been found out, but if I somehow wriggle out of this I swear to go straight, to be straightforward and honest and to delight in my cozy dullness, to never swipe another uni-ball pen from work or murder my mouthy mistress. In the new light of fog-less existence I will go to Italy where I will find myself afresh, where I will feel real affection for someone, where I will taste the fully accoutered good life and drink in the sun and disappear into the lives of others; to emerge absolved of all past sins, ready to begin it all again. "Damn compelling," as I stumble to the shelves for another Patricia Highsmith.
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Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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message 1: by Ben (new)

Ben sometimes your reviews are like perceptual fireworks; colored explosions triumphantly expanding awareness in spurts of massive creativity.


Eddie Watkins Thanks Ben! I'm surprised you can see the fireworks through all the fog because I know I'm still too foggy to intelligently respond...


message 3: by Ben (new)

Ben Perhaps typically unused parts of the brain actually awaken when in such a state: perhaps that's part of what came across. These exotic brain sections often seem colorful when exposed.


Eddie Watkins True, true. That's kind of what I was getting at.

I don't know about you, but I can do some good reading in the morning long before I can speak a coherent sentence.


Kimley Well, you're in trouble now...


Eddie Watkins And you're partly to blame...




Kimley Heh, heh - evil grin...

Beware of what strangers on the internet recommend to read.

I wonder what Highsmith would have thought of the internet and all these crazy social networking sites where people create a variety of personae. She really understood that need that people have to control how they are perceived despite any realities that may contradict the desired perceptions.

I'm guessing you may have already seen "Purple Noon" w/Alain Delon as Ripley but just in case you haven't, now that you've read this, definitely watch it!


Eddie Watkins I have seen Purple Noon. Here's another case of having seen and liked movies and so feeling no need to read the book(s).

The internet really lays that twisted tendency in us (but not me!) bare. It can be fascinating... but it can also get banal.


message 9: by Walter (new)

Walter so what you're saying is....you like it. nice. well played. well read.


Eddie Watkins The stars take care of whether I liked it or not. After that I can say anything I want. Them's the rules of the game.

I wanted to tell you about an urban nature encounter I had the other day... My wife came home and told me there was a big snake down the block, probably fake, but that I should check it out anyway. So I turned off the stove and set out barefooted down the block, and what I saw was a nearly 4 foot black rat snake, compeletely still, sitting just off the sidewalk on the other side of an iron fence. I couldn't believe my eyes, and as it was absolutely still I thought by chance it was an incredibly realistic fake, so I waved my hand in front of its face, and it flickered its tongue! I got pretty excited at this point, as I like to see at least one snake in the wild a year, and to see it right down the block from my house in the middle of a big city was just too much. It's not even Summer yet! But then came the problem of what to do with it. After witnessing some neighbors beat a opossum to death last year, I didn't want anyone else to see it, so I had to act fast. Being barefooted I couldn't pick it up like a pro, so I had to use a small stick to press it to the pavement in order to pick it up behind its head. No problem. I then stored it in a paper grocery bag and took it to nearby Bartram's Garden to set it free, but not before having a little fun with it - scaring a neighbor and my wife's friend, just a little bit. Years ago it would've been a new addition to the household.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Wow, definitely a strong endorsement to read some Patrica Highsmith, I think. Impressive writing, Eddie.


message 12: by D. (new)

D. Pow Great work, Eddie.


Eddie Watkins Thanks Donald, Thanks Wolfie, but as Ben pointed out it's largely pyrotechnics...


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