Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Ripliad

Well, it turns out that there are some good non-vampire reads out there for teenage readers after all.

In 1955, Patricia Highsmith wrote a psychological thriller called The talented Mr Ripley. Forty four years later, it was made into a film starring Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow. I've heard of the film, but never seen it, and I didn't realise that it was based on Patricia Highsmith's book, or that she went on to write four more Ripley novels which are collectively known as the Ripliad.

Always so exciting to enjoy a book by an author whose work you don't know, and realise there are several more to go! I guess this is how young readers feel when they discover a new series. Sometimes you can gorge on too many at once and end up feeling like you've eaten too much choolate, so I've stopped for a break after the first two books. But what a great character Tom Ripley is: part charming, part repulsive, mixed up together in a way that reminds me of Lolita, so you are half horrifed at what's going on and half hoping he gets away wtih it.  

I don't like a lot of modern crime novels - too graphic and too unpleasant, but I did enjoy meeting Tom Ripley. And one of the reasons it's great for a teenage reader is because Identity is the big theme in English at this year level, and Tom Ripley certainly has some serious identity issues.

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