First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
Tom Ripley is struggling to stay one step ahead of his creditors and the law, when an unexpected acquaintance offers him a free trip to Europe and a chance to start over.
Ripley wants money, success and the good life and he’s willing to kill for it. When his new-found happiness is threatened, his response is as swift as it is shocking.
And done! Another work week is in the books. I hope that you are ending the week on a high note. For those who had a less than stellar week, I hope you get your mojos back in the coming two days. I hope you use it to rest, relax, reflect, and rejuvenate your manna. Today also happens to be the first day of April. Happy April Fool’s day everyone! I hope you were able to survive all the pranks thrown your way. I hope these pranks did not cause you to have trust issues. Nonetheless, here’s a great start to the month! Despite the improving COVID19 conditions, a lot still remains uncertain; I can understand where the exasperation is coming from. More importantly, I hope that you are all doing well, in body, mind, and spirit. I can’t wait for this pandemic to end soon.
Before I can officially close the work week, I am posting a new First Impression Friday update. In March, I read purely works by female writers in commemoration of the celebration of International Women’s Day (March 8) and Women’s History Month. I enjoyed the journey as it offered me a variety of interesting and powerful works such as Olga Tokarczuk’s The Books of Jacob, Isabel Allende’s Violeta, and Violaine Huisman’s The Book of Mother. Unfortunately, I don’t have any plans lined up yet for April. As such, I had a challenging time picking out which book to read next. I was thinking of Natalia Ginzburg’s Family Sayings, a book I’ve listed as my next read in my latest WWW Wednesday update. Then again, my attention went to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. In the end, I settled with Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley.
Choosing The Talented Mr. Ripley seemed the most logical option. The book is listed as part of both my 2022 Beat the Backlist Challenge and 2022 Top 22 Reading List. The book is also listed as one of the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. The book was the most obvious candidate, considering that it has been gathering dust on my bookshelf ever since I acquired it in early 2018. I have been meaning to read the book but I kept on pushing it back for a variety of reasons. It was actually for this reason that I included the book in two of my ongoing reading challenges. It is just the third book from my Beat the Backlist challenge and the seven from my Top 22 Reading List. Finally, I have started reading one of the books I have been looking forward to for the longest time.
I just completed Xochitl Gonzalez’s debut novel, Olga Dies Dreaming, and just started reading The Talented Mr. Ripley. I haven’t gone far into the story yet to enable me to provide a deeper or at least a more substantial analysis of the story. Nonetheless, I have managed to complete seven chapters which at least gave me some glimpses of Highsmith’s prose. In these seven chapters, I was able to get a feel of who the titular Tom Ripley is. At the start, he does come across as paranoid, always aware of eyes prying into him. It could only mean a lot of things. Maybe he is a fugitive or maybe he was a witness to a crime. But then again, I am reminded of the “talented” in the book’s title. It seems that Ripley is a conman of some sort.
Anyway, in the first chapter of the book, Ripley felt watched because he was followed by a businessman named Herbert Greenleaf. He is the father of Richard Greenleaf, or Dickie for short. The business magnate wanted Ripley to convince his son to return home. For the past two years, Dickie has been living in a town called Mongibello, south of Naples, Italy. There, Dickie “divides his time between sailing and painting.” While Ripley was not really a close friend of Dickie, he was able to discern the reason for the patriarch’s approach. The older Greenleaf wanted his son to take over their shipbuilding company.
Through his cunning, Ripley was able to convince Greenleaf of his deep relationship with his son. It was a total lie of course for the name elicited sketchy images at best. Nonetheless, Ripley saw it as an opportunity to leave New York City for Italy. Now, this is one of the mysteries I see so far. Was Ripley running away from someone or something? The possibility is great considering that he is a struggling conman. I am excited to see how the story unfolds for I have discerned that it has crime and mystery elements to it. More importantly, I want to get into Mr. Ripley’s mind and uncover what makes him “talented.”
The Talented Mr. Ripley is a highly-heralded work of fiction. It won several accolades after its publication and despite the passage of time, it is still lauded as one of the best works of crime and mystery fiction. In 2019, BBC News listed the book as one of the 100 most inspiring novels, or in other words, 100 novels that shaped our world. I hope I get to enjoy the book. How about you fellow reader? What book are you digging into the weekend? I hope you are enjoying it. For now, happy reading, and have a happy weekend!