Patricia Highsmith discussion

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Timing involved in Tom Ripley novels

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message 1: by Elaine (new)

Elaine | 2 comments I just read the five Ripley novels for the third time. This time I read them in order. I find the timing very odd. Not when they were published (of course) but when the events in each were actually supposed to have taken place.(For example) If "Talented" (Book 1) took place in 1955 when Tom was 25 and he is clearly stated to be 31 years old in "Under Ground" (book 2), that would indicate that
Book 2 took place in 1961. However, the coin found in the grave of the fellow TR killed (and moved) was dated 1965. I have several of these puzzles. Hoping to find answers or at least co-searchers here.
Thanks, Elaine


message 2: by Coalbanks (new)

Coalbanks | 3 comments Chronology is a problem. She needed a better editor at times to maintain continuity. But then again, Ripley was never meant to fit neatly into anyone's databank.


message 3: by Carla Remy (new)

Carla Remy I felt she wanted the character to remain young and up-to-date, didn't want the series stuck in the 50s and early 60s. But I found it quite disconcerting. It makes it difficult to appreciate the series as a whole. I tend to think of the first one as quite seperate from the later four.


message 4: by J. (new)

J. | 14 comments Pure speculation, but I think that Highsmith simply didn't feel the little stuff mattered as much as lining up the moral collisions and confrontations-- in the plotting --she was after. Ripley himself often improvises something 'on the fly' that isn't successful immediately but fits the character, accentuates mood or pace.

Agree with Remy, though, the first book is its own full novel, with huge depth & complexity, whereas she had him grow up for the next four but didn't shift the formula very much.

In a parallel universe somewhere, there is a college course called Meet The Ripleys and we'd all be apt students, I thinnk......


message 5: by Elaine (new)

Elaine | 2 comments Hi, Can anyone tell us what other misdatings (etc) he or she noticed? The "Romeo & Juliet" poster was one I noticed, too.
Thanks, Elaine


message 6: by Carla Remy (new)

Carla Remy How about in "The Boy Who Followed Ripley" when they go to Berlin and the gay clubs? That seemed very 70s/80s (though I hear Weimer Berlin wouldn't have been much different). And there are little incidental mentions of current events in all of them. I believe they talk about Christina Onasses in The Boy Who...


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