Patricia Highsmith: The Boy Who Followed Ripley



Ce but it s ust handled so bloody poorly and is so boring that I m genuinely surprised that 1 I didn t abandon it sooner and 2 That Highsmith even wrote this I guess I thought given the calibre of Highsmith novels that came before I d find something to like about this as I kept reading No no no We go from Belle Ombre to meeting Frank Pierson someone who really likes Tom The start in fact is the most promising part of this novel for sure Frank and Tom develop a pretty strong bond with Heloise even remarking if the two are faggots which is brought up and then never mentioned again Long story short Frank gets kidnapped while they re in Berlin and what follows has to be the driest most uninteresting unengaging travelogue in any book ever Gee I really don t like writing all this but it has to be done What was an annoying constant mentioning and referring of weird German suburbs and names incomprehensible to the average reader at the end of Ripley Under Ground now takes up almost an entire third of the novel very unfortunately Even before Frank is captured he and Tom go about Berlin seeing the zoo going to bars and so on for like 100 pages Nothing happens of interest except Highsmith shows off that she has done research about Berlin or has been there extensively This really is Highsmith s Achilles heel and I was willing to overlook it mostly in Ripley Under Ground but not here You know that saying in writing show don t tell Well Highsmith seems to think that constantly telling the reader weird German words like Kruezberg or Glienicker Brucke or Kurfurstendamm adds anything whatsoever to the story being told It doesn t At all There are very few interesting moments here and the signature existential meanderings and brokenness of Highsmith characters that I care about are seemingly missing All we get is a smuggler named Eric Lanz who is creepily welcoming to Tom and Frank who does have a darkness in him but it s not touched on nearly enough to warrant this book being read The entire story really is rescuing Frank from the kidnappers We see Tom getting all the ransom money from the banks how exciting dressing up in drag wow and going to the zoo When Frank comes back they go to France and here I stopped reading I did skim to the end however and found out Frank kills himself What the heckI guess why I dislike this book so is that it hardly even feels like a Ripley novel When writing this one Highsmith wanted to show Tom Ripley as a compassionate person so we see him doing his taxes and trying to save a boy he barely knows but all that is boring and uninteresting The character in this book doesn t even feel anything like the Tom Ripley I ve come to know and love over the course of three books Hell at least in Ripley Under Ground Tom Ripley felt like Tom Ripley In this one he s almost a good guy and that doesn t work at all It s like he kills the kidnappers and does all he does to save Frank almost like it s Their Convenient Amish Marriage (Pinecraft Homecomings justified for the greater good But the exact opposite made the character so compelling his killings were never thatustified or logical Ripley either killed because a he wanted to be someone else b he wanted to protect is illegal business or c he was ust bored of his safe life The character is unbelievable here and coupled with Highsmith s insistence to write a travelogue of almost the entirety of Western Berlin makes this for a truly unengaging read I wish it were different I really do I don t like negatively reviewing an author whom I really respect very much so but I will not be swayed by that I must review as objectively as possible and the objective uestion I usually ask myself while consuming a piece of media is Am I enjoying myself am I having a good timeAnd with most Highsmith books the answer is usually yes yes I am But not Boy Who Followed Ripley in fact I was hesitant and reluctant to continue reading it I didn t want to because I wasn t enjoying myself Sadly it looks like the end of the road for the Ripley books for me I do not think I can read the final one though I ust might try but I think I need a bit of a break from Highsmith after thi. Iverso de un adolescente atrozmente atormentado por un acto ue cometió pero también rebelado contra la sociedad y tre­mendamente desgraciado a causa de una historia amorosa«Una obra de escalofriante intuición y gran profundidad aunue no haga alarde de ello Como Graham Greene Patricia Highsmith sabe ue no necesita gesticular El logro mayor de una escritora incesante­mente fascinante» Craig Brown Times Literary Supplemen.

Iter 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 itI can appreciate why some people are of the opinion that this is the weakest Ripley novel to date and perhaps as a standalone title it might well be considered such BUT as a further chronicle in the life of one of great anti heroes of contemporary literature this is pretty damned enjoyableTom is growing old mellow his attempts to become a mentor allow us to explore this growthchange in his personality and led to perhaps one of my favourite seuences in the series in the sexual underbelly of West Berlin It also allows us to share loss with him something that he had never felt before which from a sociopath is rare and signifies that perhaps he has finally started to find a peace and happiness in his life If you d told me that Highsmith would write this book and this development after the devastating arrival of Tom in The Talented Mr Ripley I probably wouldn t have believed you but now having read it nothing feels naturalI had a few issues with the chronology of the series here The book is clearly set in 1979 24 years after the first Ripley novel but he hasn t aged much at all especially considering that he points out Heloise as being 28 or 29 Before this novel I would ve been unable to really place the stories but Highsmith seems to ahve gone out of her way to place this novel at a certain time the mention of Christopher And His Kind references to the visit of Jimmy Carter to Berlin in 1978 amongst others deliberately placed in the text only served to drag me out of the story and uestion the reality of the world she was writing inSmall things but something I would ve expected someone as talented as Ms Highsmith to have noticed and fixed Only one Tom Ripley book left and then I shall allow myself to read other of her works We live in the age of the refugee the age of the exile Ariel DorfmanThis 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 crafty Highsmith bends genders flips expecations dodges emotions transforms motives etc and almost clones Ripley with Frank Probably the most disturbing character in the whole series is Tom s wife Heloise I can sympathize Tom s amorality easy enough but I Neimhaim (Neimhaim, just can t UNDERSTAND Heloise While nothing about her is directly creepy it is like Highsmith is using Heloise to point a finger at the West or perhaps at the reader Oh no The Boy Who Followed Ripleyudged 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 Divine ecstasy, the story of Khajuraho 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 isust no way if the first in the series is good to recapture the magic of that original idea The Ripley novels are no exception though Highsmith did try her darndest We go from the outstanding first novel plummet to the subpar second Ripley Under Ground rise exponentially with the third Ripley s Game and now crash headlong into a pile of manure with this one It ust goes to show that even the greats like Highsmith are not all powerful and incapable of making mistakes So what exactly is my beef with The Boy Who Followed Ripley There s an interesting germ of an idea here Tom Ripley the amoral sociopath takes on a young boy almost as an apprenti. Ienza entonces para los dos amigos un vagabundeo ue les lleva de París a Berlín donde Frank es víctima de un secuestro después a Hamburgo y finalmente a los Estados Unidos a la lujosa y nefasta mansión de los Pierson Por primera vez Tom Ripley revela al lector su cara oculta la de un hombre generoso dispuesto a todo para ayudar a un ser en apuros Y también por primera vez Patricia Highsmith se dedica a reconstruir el un.

He shouldn t a done thatThe 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 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 compellingI read that they re turning these novels into a TV series Can t wait Although there s debate about whether or not they re going to make Tom gay UGH They make it sound like a creative choice to please an audience rather than a genuine analysis of the text In which case you know what they re going to do which is to make Tom gay because applying Rowling s law everything that can be gay will be gay Including me in case you thought I was being offensiveflippant P But seriously who would want it ust because Not meI think sociopaths are sexually ambivalent That is they don t care where their pleasure is coming from Tom obviously doesn t have high regard for other people at all He can admire them and want what they have for himself but that s not the same as affectionI even think that Tom s wife Heloise is sociopathic than he is She seems somewhat aware of his crimes other times no but it s often very easy to get her out of the picture when some sort of illicit thing has to go down and not because she s not paying attention but because she genuinely doesn t give a shit either way Theirs is not a marriage but a dual manipulation In Jon Ronson s The Psychopath Test I think it was he mentions how Sissy Spacek s character in the film Badlands is the uintessential psychopath even though her boyfriend is the one with violent tendencies I think it s something similar hereBut the idea of making someone who at times appears to be attracted to men sexually ambivalent in this day and age might be criticised for gaybi erasure if the character is not explicitly outed as somethingSay they do go for the ambiguous or ambivalent approach it ll be difficult to convince an audience that that s what s going on anyway From my own writing experience if I make a character have sex with someone of their own sex most readers automatically assume homosexuality Probably because they could never imagine themselves sleeping with the same sex unless they were homosexual which is stupid because that may be the most common case but we all know that boredom curiosity and what the hell sometimes suffice But a lot of people men don t like the idea of succumbing to these occasional temptations so they have to categorise acts they perceive as uncomfortable as done by othersBy the way AS A GAY MAN I don t enjoy having to offer so many gay takes but when I encounter ignorance or confusion I feel obliged I Amish Sweethearts just hope no one doubles down on their gay ignorance by then labelling me a gay author for doing so I have at least like two other dimensions engineer likes cats and so on As I was approaching the end of Ripley s Game Ripley 3 I felt sorry that I had only two 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 atust the right level and coming out of the blue many a timeHowever as I approached half the way in this book with hardly an event worth of narration I started to feel frustrated Indeed looking back at it the book has a single real event packed with action but before and after is padded with useless pointless narration of too many unimportant details and even unimportant characters that have no role whatsoever Details became excruciatingly boring with the description of every single finger motion a character makes and every idea heshe thinks Details kept promising something to build or some surprise but no everything went blandly uite as expectedA real let down I think I was about 14 pages in before I said to myself wow Patricia Highsmith was a talented wr. Tom Ripley el inuietante protagonista de El talento de Mr Ripley La máscara de Ripley y El amigo americano se encuentra un día a un extraño adolescente ue no uiere separarse de él el oven Frank Pierson hijo de un multimillonario ue se siente acosado por un espantoso secreto Sólo un hombre como Ripley acostumbrado a las aguas turbias podría ayudarle en su lucha desesperada contra el sentimiento de culpa ue le corroe Com.

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Claire Morgan plus a work of non fiction 'Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction' and a co written book of children's verse 'Miranda the Panda Is on the Veranda'She latterly lived in England and France and was popular in England than in her native United States Her novel 'Deep Water' 1957 was called by the Sunday Times one of the most brilliant analyses of psychosis in America and Julian Symons once wrote of her Miss Highsmith is the writer who fuses character and plot most successfully the most important crime novelist at present in practice In addition Michael Dirda observed Europeans honoured her as a psychological novelist part of an existentialist tradition represented by her own favorite writers in particular Dostoevsky Conrad Kafka Gide and CamusShe died of leukemia in Locarno Switzerland on 4 February 1995 and her last novel 'Small g a Summer Idyll' was published posthumously a month laterGerry WolstenholmeJuly 2010