Mike's Reviews > The Talented Mr. Ripley

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
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Sep 06, 09

Recommended for: armchair psychologists, fans of things 'gripping'
Read in August, 2009, read count: 1

Closeted homosexual decides to take the facade one step further and dispenses with his humanity entirely. Mr. Ripley's great talent is that he can shed one identity for another like an insect molting a new skin. Unlike later fictional humans-in-form-only, such as Dexter Morgan of Dexter or The Fly’s Seth Brundle, our sociopathic protagonist makes no effort to restore or compensate for his lost humanity — Tom Ripley wants nothing more that to live a life of (stolen) luxury and not be thwarted by justice.

Even though the evil homosexual was an accepted trope at the time this book was published it's pretty clear that Ripley’s evil does not originate in his ambivalent sexuality. So unless you are the sort of American conservative who believes marriage equality for gay people will lead to people marrying their dog or toaster the story passes the stupid premise test.

Despite his immoral, self-centered nature Ripley elicits our sympathy because he strives to better himself, to control his destiny. We all reach points in our lives where the person we are is no longer the person we need to become; unlike Mr. R we resolve these points of crisis with the tools of a mammal — as warm-blooded creatures that recognize Love as the greatest key ever invented. Even so we are products of evolution, and evolution is an accumulative process; the old ways of the reptile and its carnivore morality still speak in our hearts today. So walk softly — the bridge of light is fragile, and cannibal armies might yet roam the earth.
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message 1: by Karen (new)

Karen Backe I had considered picking up a couple from this series years ago but was talked out of it by questionable reasoning. thanks


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