Adam's Reviews > Ripley Under Ground

Ripley Under Ground by Patricia Highsmith
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Feb 10, 10

bookshelves: crime-fiction, fiction
Read from January 18 to February 07, 2010

I felt as if this fell into the category of "completely unnecessary sequels," but for what it was, I thought it was pretty great.

The Talented Mr. Ripley was a noir masterpiece, and its protagonist, Tom Ripley, was a fascinating combination of con man, sociopath, and social climber. Patricia Highsmith wrote Ripley Under Ground 15 years after the first novel, but Ripley has only aged five or six years since the events of The Talented Mr. Ripley. He now has a comfortable life in the French countryside and is married to a beautiful, rich French woman. He's still involved in exclusively shady businesses, however, including an art forging scheme that drives the plot of the novel.

The use of forgeries, in particular Ripley's musings about what constitutes a "real" work of art, is a great way for Highsmith to continue her exploration of identity and impersonation. There is duplicity and dissembling on nearly every page of Ripley Under Ground, and the ending, which is ambiguous, was great.
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02/03/2010 page 203
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Jeff I think I gave this one three stars. Unfortunately the first one is the only five star novel in the series. I really enjoyed both movie versions of Talented Mr. Ripley--with Matt Damon and the original 1960 French film Plein Soleil, which the remake borrowed heavily from to recreate the period.


Adam I've never seen Plein Soleil, but I liked the version with Matt Damon, and I don't know why so many people dumped on it.

Ripley Under Ground wasn't as good as The Talented Mr. Ripley, but I still liked it. I especially liked how literal the title turned out to be. I didn't expect that scene at all.

I'll almost certainly read Ripley's Game as well, since I picked up a brand new Everyman's Library omnibus of Highsmith's first three Ripley novels at a book sale for $2. Several years ago I saw Wim Wenders's film Der Amerikanische Freund (The American Friend), which was an adaptation of Ripley's Game. I didn't really like it. In particular, Dennis Hopper's performance as Tom Ripley was just awful.


Jeff I enjoyed Ripley's Game as well as the movie, but John Malkovich was an odd choice to play Ripley. Never saw the Wenders version, but thought Hopper was an odd choice too.




message 4: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed I liked Ripley himself very much in the first novel and thought sequels was pointless but the art forgery,his shady bizz while being married sounds appealing suddenly.


Adam Hopper may have been an odd choice to play Ripley, but the oddest thing was how the character was presented in the Wenders film. He was the embodiment of the European view of the "ugly American." He wore mostly all denim and a cowboy hat and talked with a drawl, which is the complete opposite of the way the character is in the books.

Mohammed, I'd recommend Ripley Under Ground. It's not as good as The Talented Mr. Ripley, but it's still a good mystery/crime novel.


message 6: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed I enjoyed the first Ripley i rate it 3/5 stars simple because i thought the writing got a bit sloppy in the middle of the book.

I will try this, shouldn't be hard to find in the library.


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