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The Boy Who Followed Ripley

(Ripley #4)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  2,903 ratings  ·  212 reviews
Tom Ripley, el inquietante protagonista de El talento de Mr. Ripley, La máscara de Ripley y El amigo americano, se encuentra un día a un extraño adolescente que no quiere separarse de él: el joven Frank Pierson, hijo de un multimillonario, que se siente acosado por un espantoso secreto. Sólo un hombre como Ripley, acostumbrado a las aguas turbias, podría ayudarle en su luc ...more
Paperback, 292 pages
Published November 2nd 1993 by Vintage (first published April 1980)
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  2,903 ratings  ·  212 reviews

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Feb 08, 2016 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
Isaac Cooper
Mar 01, 2014 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
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed

The Boy Who Followed Ripley, published in 1980, is the 4th book in the Tom Ripley series, and seems to be quite different to the other installments.

In this one, Tom is sought out in his home in France by an American teenage runaway who asks him for a job. Tom agrees to hire him as a help in the garden. As they get to know each other, Tom learns more about the reasons why Billy/Frank ran away from home and sees some similarities between himself and the boy.

Then the story takes a turn that
Dec 15, 2012 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
Roman Clodia
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This episode in the 'Ripliad' continues the reversions and inversions of the previous story as Ripley becomes a kind of mentor to a troubled young man. It's also the most overt about Ripley's gender and sexual ambiguities as he and his acolyte enjoy the decadent night-life of Berlin, complete with gay clubs and drag. Like the previous book, this ends with another kick in the guts - where will Highsmith go from here?
Sep 26, 2011 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.

Melissa McShane
I think the end of this book, which is tragic and horrible, is prefigured in the beginning. Frank Pierson, sixteen years old and hiding a terrible secret, seeks out Tom Ripley in France, having read about him and feeling a kinship with him. Frank is only just hanging on to life, though he does a good job of pretending otherwise. I went for long stretches of time hovering between fearing that Frank was even more of a sociopath than Tom and meant him ill, and fearing that Frank wasn't going to mak ...more
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
Carla Remy
From 1980
I feel terrible giving this such a low rating, because I love it. I think the plot is terrific, but after a hundred pages it just gets... so long... boring... slow. I read this before, and the length apparently didn't bother me. But, on my second readings of Highsmith, after a decade (more now), I got stuck on her weird slowness. I can think of three of her books that move fast with fairly lively plots (one being the Talented Mr. Ripley, of course). I like following Ripley in his intere
Leo Robertson
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
He shouldn't'a done that!

The boy, I mean ;)

Another compelling entry in the series. Really interesting to see how "the boy" will "follow" Ripley—in what way does Highsmith mean this? Frank Pierson turns out to be an interesting character foil, revealing even more psychological insight about Ripley himself—which is what the universe, according to Ripley, is ultimately about, of course ;) (How does she make a character, who is so compelled by himself, so compelling?)

I read that they're turning thes
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
Bruce Beckham
Jun 25, 2015 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
Lord Beardsley
Aug 04, 2011 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
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"An American boy in our house - just like that!"

The fourth book in the Ripley series is also, without a doubt, the most misunderstood. Which is kind of unfortunate, because it gives us new insight into Tom's character, and into Highsmith's point overall.

The novel opens with Tom meeting a teenager named Billy who, like Tom himself, isn't quite what he appears to be. In fact, Tom soon learns that Billy is running away from something - that he may have even committed a crime...

The plot hinges on B
Apr 24, 2012 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
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm pretty sure that Highsmith was really tired of people asking her if Tom Ripley was gay. So she wrote this book.

Her answer? No, not in practice. She's a wonderful author and took an entire book to say it.

I loved this book. It's quite different than the other Ripley books. It shows a different side of Tom. It's his mid-life crisis and his longing for passion in his life. He's reflective and a marvelously unreliable narrator.
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This was the worst novel I have read in the Ripley series. Alternating between boring and outrageous, this was definitely not Highsmith at her best. Hopefully the last in the series will be better.
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 end the bk ...more
Feb 22, 2008 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 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
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
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: criminal-mind
I loved The Boy Who Followed Ripley (Ripley #4) because we got to explore another side of Tom Ripley — his brotherly, even paternal instincts — brought out by a teenage boy who idolized him knowing that he was murderous and flawed.

We have seen glimpses of Tom’s protective side in the first three books — most explicitly in Ripley’s Game — but here, with the teenager, he is all-in. And it’s in this book more than any other in the Ripliad that our antihero comes closest to being a hero.

The setting
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Boy Who Followed Ripley, the fourth novel in the Ripley series, is one of Patricia Highsmith's darkest and most twisted creations.

Tom Ripley meets a young American runaway who has a dark secret that he is desperate to hide. Soon this unlikely pair is drawn into the seamy underworld of Berlin and a shocking kidnapping. In this masterful thriller, Highsmith shatters our perceptions of her most famous creation by letting us glimpse a more compassionate side of this amoral charmer.
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, ripley, borrowed
Another cracking chapter in the Ripley story, as Ripley falls in with a young American lad who's on the run from his family after the sudden death of his (extremely rich) father. The premise seems odd and contrived, and as you read the novel you realise that - apart from one brief moment where he kicks a door in - Ripley pretty much does absolutely nothing throughout the whole story. And yet, Highsmith manages to craft this into a really gripping and well-paced thriller. It doesn't matter that R ...more
David Anderson
Jul 21, 2014 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
Gina Rheault
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very gay. In this Ripley episode, a very attractive young runaway shows up on Tom's doorstep in Villeperce, France. In the process of getting this young fellow home, there is much bed-sharing and tenderness, but none of THAT, no, no, no. We do go to gay nightclubs like Der Hump, and meet wonderful drag queens, and spend significant time in a lovely gay criminal underground in Berlin, who are a band of brothers, mutually supportive of the citizens of their world -- no passports needed --- we know ...more
May 26, 2014 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
Becky Black
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 06, 2008 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
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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

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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