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Boy Who Followed Ripley, The [Paperback]

Patricia Highsmith
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 26 2008
Now part of American film and literary lore, Tom Ripley, "a bisexual psychopath and art forger who murders without remorse when his comforts are threatened" (New York Times Book Review), was Patricia Highsmith's favorite creation. In The Boy Who Followed Ripley (1980), Highsmith explores Ripley's bizarrely paternal relationship with a troubled young runaway, whose abduction draws them into Berlin's seamy underworld. More than any other American literary character, Ripley provides "a lens to peer into the sinister machinations of human behavior" (John Freeman, Pittsburgh Gazette).

Frequently Bought Together

Boy Who Followed Ripley, The + Ripley Under Water + Ripleys Game
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Product Details

Product Description

From Library Journal

To coincide with the premiere of the paperback publication of 1992's Ripley Under Water ( LJ 10/1/92), Vintage is releasing a brace of Highsmith's earlier adventures of Ripley, the cordial young man with the talent for murder. Dubbed "especially brilliant" by LJ 's reviewer, Ripley's Game ( LJ 5/1/74) finds the protagonist continually bungling a hit, while The Boy Who Followed Ripley ( LJ 5/1/80) finds him trying to protect a young man on the run after murdering his wealthy father.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Patricia Highsmith was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1921 but moved to New York when she was six. In her senior year she edited the college magazine, having decided to become a writer at the age of sixteen. Her first novel Strangers on a Train was made into a famous film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951. Patricia Highsmith died in Locarno, Switzerland in 1995. Her last novel Small g: A Summer Idyll was published posthumously just over a month later. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Suffers from sequel syndrome. May 30 2003
By A Customer
I've read 4 Ripley books, in order.

I have found the quality tails off as you read through the series, finally hitting rock bottom with the Boy who followed Ripley. To be fair the second and third are perfectly readable, just not as good as the first. The Talented Mr. Ripley deserves all the credit it gets, it is a well written and attention grabbing tale.
The plot is reasonably straightforward, but I get the feeling that much of the substance remains in the authors head - there are many instances of unlikely events that Tom for some unfathomable reason imagines will happen, and lo and behold, they do. He instantly recognises who the boy is, with little evidence. He immediately comes to the conclusion for no apparent reason that certain things will happen to the boy (I won't spoil it), they all happen. These in our world are called coincidences, in Ripleys world we are expected to swallow them one after the other.
I found myself skimming paragraphs, as I knew what would happen, because Tom had thought about it happening 10 minutes before.
The character of the boy himself is woefully undeveloped. The premise of the boy 'worshipping' Tom Ripley is thought sufficient to explain why the boy meekly does everything Tom tells him to, whether or not it makes sense.
Still, I'm not going to give it no Stars at all. I did manage to finish the book, and I certainly couldn't do any better!
This is not her best work. I found myself turning to my wife and saying 'Boy, this book is boring'. A first for me.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Highsmith fails to deliver on a great premise... Nov. 26 2001
By lazza
While folks reading this review have probably read the first three Ripley novels and will probably read the fourth (The Boy Who Followed Ripley) regardless of what I write, let me just say a few words on what to expect. Having read some 20+ Patricia Highsmith novels I have alternated between being a raving fan and a semi-harsh critic of her work. When she is good, she is very good indeed. When she has an off day, her material is just ho-hum. I'm afraid The Boy Who Followed Ripley falls into the latter category.
The Boy Who Followed Ripley has just an interesting premise. A sixteen year-old American rich lad seeks out our rogue Tom Ripley and befriends him. We discover the boy has a dark secret, which he shares exclusively with Ripley. The boy's friendship extends into something like hero-worshipping. At this stage Highsmith could have used some clever homo-erotic angle, which would have been an interesting twist back to the original The Talented Mr Ripley novel, or at least made the boy into some sort of threat to Tom Ripley (..a man with many secrets). But no, the author merely injects some rather unoriginal mystery/criminal handy-panky which involves with boy and Tom Ripley. The only curious bit is that Tom Ripley is the good guy here, which is a bit of disappointment for the fans of the Ripley series.
On a much more minor note, I was unfortunate enough to read a 5-6 year old UK version of this novel. The publisher took liberties in translating many expressions into British slang, which is really appalling since the two main characters in this novel are Americans. It is downright bizarre to read a book where Americans use words like loo (toilet), pissed (drunk) and fag (cigarette). This is the first time I witnessed this in a UK edition Highsmith novel; I hope the most current edition of The Boy Who Followed Ripley is spared from this nonsense.
Bottom line: a very readable, but very mundane Ripley book. Disappointing and, sadly, not recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Curiouser and curiouser Sept. 10 2001
I just finished this book tonight and was sad to reach the last words - I only have one more Ripley book to go that I have not read, and since the passing of Ms. Highsmith I know regrettably there shall be no more adventures for Tom Ripley after that. I actually paced myself so I could mull this fourth novel in the series over throughout the summer, picking up again where I left off on airplanes, at lunch, and on the bus to work or school. I am very easily drawn into the enticing world of Villeperce and Belle Ombre in the French countryside that Patricia Highsmith has lovingly created for the talented Mr. Ripley to exist in - I am highly disappointed these places are pure fantasy, as I would have enjoyed a pint at Marie and George's bar-tabac with relish. This book is a mixed bag, I think, but still a great read. There are all the wonderful little details that Ms. Highsmith includes that make Tom Ripley a real person for the reader. As referenced by another reviewer, his relationship with his wife Heloise is fascinating to me. Separate beds, stories he doesn't quite share, obviously illegal activities, yet a true sense of devotion that evidences itself in the little presents he loves to buy his wife while on his twisted, dangerous adventures throughout the European continent. Heloise is not stupid, so I am sure she knows exactly what her husband is up to, so she probably doesn't care. There are a lot of marriages like this - maybe she finds Tom's antics entertaining. She does also know of Tom's homosexual evidenced by her strong reaction to the arrival of Frank Pierson into Belle Ombre. Heloise realizes that Frank is infatuated with Tom and that Tom is attracted to Frank, whether he admits it or not. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but not the best of the Ripley series....
I suspect that author Highsmith was feeling more comfortable with expressing her own sexuality by the time she wrote this entertaining little mystery, as the homoeroticism is... Read more
Published on Dec 12 2003 by Nelson Aspen
5.0 out of 5 stars The Boy
This book is definitely my favourite of the Ripley novels. Patricia Highsmith has an incredible ability to detail the touching relationship between Tom Ripley and Frank Pierson. Read more
Published on March 8 2003 by Justin
3.0 out of 5 stars Death eagerly awaited.
In the fourth Tom Ripley novel, we meet sixteen-year-old Frank Pierson, the younger son of a millionaire. Read more
Published on Oct. 3 2001 by "malkhan_the_tramp"
2.0 out of 5 stars Fussy, sort of British
Don't read this unless you loved the rest of the series and can't stop. You just aren't going to convince me that Ripley could turn in the ransom money, or that his friends... Read more
Published on Aug. 6 2001 by moth
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun Homoeroticsm for RIPLEY
The Boy Who Followed Ripley is my third RIPLEY book. I've read a couple of other Highsmith's as well (The Tremor of Forgery and Eleven were both excellent). Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2001 by David Krasner
4.0 out of 5 stars only pretty good
I just read all the ripley books, and this was my least favorite. It starts off good, but as soon as Frank is safe from the kidnappers the books meanders and takes a really long... Read more
Published on April 8 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Ripley since the First!
I'm working my way through the Ripley series (am currently into number five), and I think that *The Boy who Followed Ripley* is the best since *The Talented Mr. Ripley. Read more
Published on March 26 2000 by Debra Hamel
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great "Ripley" Adventure
This was definitely a favorite book of mine out of the Ripley books. Highsmith created a character that you can't help but love - and hate - at the same time. Read more
Published on Feb. 29 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars Sinister Undercurrent
Patricia Highsmith continues her analysis of highly amoral and asexual Tom Ripley with her indescribably yet highly seductive and underhanded manner of storytelling which compels... Read more
Published on Feb. 4 2000 by Diana F. Von Behren
4.0 out of 5 stars Ripley As Family Man
Book continues Highsmith's tradition of turning detective genres on their head. Ripley demonstrates that when his own nest is adequately feathered, he is able to extend frozenly... Read more
Published on Dec 18 1999 by frumiousb
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