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Ripley Under Ground Paperback – Aug 26 2008

3.7 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: WW Norton (Aug. 26 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393332136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393332131
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 2 x 21.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #149,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

"In Ripley Under Ground Patricia Highsmith is in her most brilliant form" Daily Telegraph "The No.1 Greatest Crime Writer" The Times "Ripley Under Ground is Highsmith back on top of her most enjoyable humour-and-horrors form" Sunday Telegraph "By her hypnotic art Highsmith puts the suspense story into a toweringly high place in the hierachy of fiction" The Times "The Ripley books are marvellously, insanely readable" The Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

In this harrowing illumination of the psychotic mind, the enviable Tom Ripley has a lovely house in the French countryside, a beautiful and very rich wife, and an art collection worthy of a connoisseur. But such a gracious life has not come easily. One inopportune inquiry, one inconvenient friend, and Ripley's world will come tumbling down--unless he takes decisive steps. In a mesmerizing novel that coolly subverts all traditional notions of literary justice, Ripley enthralls us even as we watch him perform acts of pure and unspeakable evil.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book continues on about 6 years after "The Talanted Mr. Ripley" ends. The first part of this book takes place in the span of only a few days and is almost comical. He has people in and out of his house constantly (and they are all men, does this mean something?). The plot of the art forgery and the murder is very unbelievable. But if Tom Ripley could fool an Italian police officer into thinking he was two different people just by putting on some glasses and changing the part and color of his hair, as he did in "Talented", then I guess he could fool someone in this book by wearing a beard. However, the last part was very unbelievable and there is no way he wouldn't have been arrested. As if the police are going to find burning a man's body because he (supposedly) told him to before he committed suicide, and then crushing the skull, is not suspicious behaviour. But, I couldn't put the book down, and I'm reading Ripley's Game, so Patricia Highsmith must be a great writer, at least to me.
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Format: Paperback
The last two chapters of this book were riveting! The description of what Tom did while trying to cremate that body drew shudders: "Another try with the shovel at the head brought no results..nor would his foot if he stomped on it, Tom knew...he rolled the smoking form toward the grave he had dug..." And on and on! Jeesh! Is this man a monster or what? If you are squeamish this is not the book for you. This is the second book in the "series." I, too, didn't read in order. I finished "Ripley Under Water" before this one and I really enjoyed Tom's shenanigans in that one. But this one!! Fathuh! Fathuh! I thoroughly enjoyed gasping out loud at his insanity. His thought processes are outlandish. You can just hear Jeff and Ed thinking "the man must be demented." As for his wife, I understood her a lot better in this book than in "Under Water". I loved Tom's little idiosyncrasies regarding personal hygiene issues and his little disparaging comments about his fellow man. My guess as to why he is less self-effacing than in "Talented Mr. Ripley" is that now he has gotten what he wants: a life of luxury with no money worries.
I am so sorry that there is no more to the series after "Under Water." Patricia Highsmith is unparalleled in her straight forward depictions of murder and the mind of a sociopath.
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Format: Paperback
This book was a disappointment to me after having enjoyed both the book and movie of The Talented Mr. Ripley. Ripley is now a married wealthy art collector living in suburb of Paris. He has a fine home and a live-in housekeeper. It's the late sixties. He's involved in an art-forgery ring. A suspicious buyer is ready to give away the secret. Ripley lures this man, a rich American businessman to his house and kills him in his basement. He disposes of the body and the police investigation begins.
The story is poorly written with many unbelievable scenes. Bernard Tufts, the artist who has actually painted the forgeries, tries to kill Ripley after finding out about it and helping to dispose of the body. Tufts knocks Ripley unconscious and buries him face down in a shallow grave in the woods behind his home. He awakes buried alive and manages to dig himself out. Ripley goes about his business for the rest of the day as if nothing has happened, taking care to put the sweater he was buried in into the laundry hamper for washing. Ripley pointlessly travels all over Greece looking for Bernard. He returns to his house and then travels to Austria where he finds Bernard. Bernard sees Ripley and thinks he is a ghost. He flees from him and throws himself off a cliff in fear. Ripley burns Bernard's body at the foot of the cliff and takes an assortment of bones and charred flesh back home with him in his suitcase. He shows these bones to the detective investigating the disappearance of the rich man and seemingly convinces him that Bernard was the killer.
It's all very contrived and unconvincing. The travel book feel of some of the scenes is distracting and annoying. In The Talented Mr. Ripley the lovingly detailed descriptions of Rome and Naples and the French Riviera seemed appropriate.
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Format: Paperback
Like a tourist lost in Maine, Patricia Highsmith seems to have gone on a road trip with no sense of direction in this weak sequel to "The Talented Mr. Ripley". As a result it is a severe disappointment in comparison to its precursor. It supposedly features the same pathological liar who makes the original such a success, but here he lacks both nerve and verve. About a third of the way along, the story gets lost and begins driving around in circles, to finally run out of gas and splutter to a leaden halt in unpleasant and murky terrain. Believable plot and motivation are tossed out the window the deeper into the woods the story goes, and contradictions, non-sequiturs, and inconsequential characters abound. The particularly unbelievable and unsatisfying ending makes it clear that Ms. Highsmith never heard the sage local advice, "Yah cahn't git theya from heah", because she doesn't even come close. Instead she abandons us on a foggy road in the middle of nowhere. However, she must have been desperately poring over roadmaps near the end, because, like some hyperactive tour-guide, she nearly beats us to death with a boringly repetitive litany of Salzburg place names. Another reason why this book fails is that one wonders if this is even the same Tom Ripley, so dissimilar is he here to the captivatingly amoral character of the first novel. In the same way that Ripley impersonates the mythical Derwatt in this story, his own motivations and actions are so inverosimil and his personality so flat, that someone seems to be impersonating him as well. I find it curious that this novel about art forgeries gives such a distinct impression of being itself a forgery, so unlike is it to Ms. Highsmith's artistry in the first Ripley book.
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