The Talented Mr. Ripley, set in the 1950s, gives us a glimpse into the life of wealthy young Americans traveling abroad in Europe. Long afternoons on the beach or in street side cafes. A pursuit of art and love. The simple privilege of being an American in post- war Europe.

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Don’t be turned off by the age of the book. Highsmith masterfully sets the scene.  I was at once soothed into  sitting alongside the characters’ luxury and anxious to know what happens next. That’s a fine line to dance but Highsmith has found a way.

Now I’ve never seen the movie, so I can’t say whether or not you should read this if you have, but the book was wonderful. I miss it already. I will probably rent the movie this weekend. But wait – a word of advice –  if you haven’t seen the movie yet, don’t. Read the book first.

The book should always be read first.

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