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review 2017-08-22 07:26
Brilliant mind spook
The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

This is an unsettling book.

Ripley is a non-entity, whiny, unimpressive. A nobody, as Marge very insightfully observes in a letter. Which makes him eerie, and by all rights not a character we should wish to root for. Yet from the middle on, I found myself anxious over the instability of his position. That's some writing for you.

The other way the book is brilliant is the subtle, but steadily rising, feeling that Tom is... not right. Even from page one there is this undefinable wrongness. Then there is some point around a third in where all the exclamation progress-posts start, and I totally got it when I reached it. That's one scary, sick puppy.

Think about it: he's a fast stepper, but he's no genius, and he likes to take chances; but he's a cool cucumber, and can mimic to convince even himself. No one realizes. Translate it to the real world now.

It is the horror of the uncanny valley, made all the scarier because we understated the only reason we know it is that we are reading from the inside of his head. Cheery though for before bed, huh?

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text 2017-08-22 06:57
Reading progress update: I've read 240 out of 249 pages.
The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

"In a way it was asking for trouble, Tom thought."

 

Ya think?

 

"The very chanciness of trying for all of Dickie's money, the peril of it, was irresistible to him. He was so bored after the dreary, eventless weeks in Venice,"

 

That's character consistence for you.

 

 

And then BOOM! More excitement than you bargained for

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text 2017-08-22 00:28
Reading progress update: I've read 150 out of 249 pages.
The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

When it rains, it pours.

 

Now this is amazing: I have NO sympathy for Ripley, the whinny psycho, yet reading all crumble under him makes me anxious as hell.

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text 2017-08-20 22:02
Reading progress update: I've read 110 out of 249 pages.
The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

It was a good idea to practice jumping into his own character again, because the time might come when he would need to in a matter of seconds, and it was strangely easy to forget the exact timbre of Tom Ripley's voice.

 

He truly does not have an identity. I think this is the scariest thing. He's not a whole person, but a husk of clay.

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text 2017-08-20 03:38
Reading progress update: I've read 70 out of 249 pages.
The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

By the time his money ran out, Tom thought, Dickie would probably be so fond of him and so used to him that he would take it for granted they would go on living together. He and Dickie could easily live on Dickie's five hundred a month income.

Unsettling delusion

 

Tom stopped as Marge's window came into view: Dickie's arm was around her waist. Dickie was kissing her, little pecks on her cheek, smiling at her. They were only about fifteen feet from him, but the room was shadowed compared to the bright sunlight he stood in, and he had to strain to see. Now Marge's face was tipped straight up to Dickie's, as if she were fairly lost in ecstasy, and what disgusted Tom was that he knew Dickie didn't mean it, that Dickie was only using this cheap obvious, easy way to hold on to her friendship. What disgusted him was the big bulge of her behind in the peasant skirt below Dickie's arm that circled her waist. And Dickie -! Tom really wouldn't have believed it possible of Dickie!

 

Leads to jealous stalker in a rage tantrum, which leads to

 

'Marge, you must understand that I don't love you,' Tom said into the mirror in Dickie's voice, with Dickie's higher pitch on the emphasised words, with the little growl in his throat at the end of the phrase that could be pleasant or unpleasant, intimate or cool, according to Dickie's mood.

 

Ok, now THAT is seriously creepy... and it ramps up. OMG, this guy is seriously wrong in the head.

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