New book: Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev

  We’ve finished The Talented Mr. Ripley and will start up a new book, Ivan Turgenev’s classic Fathers and Sons. I know very little about this work so this will be the best kind of reading experience: a total surprise. Here are the stats and the first line. Fathers and Sons (Also known as Fathers … Continue reading

Talented Mr. Ripley is a twist on An American Tragedy

Finished Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley last night and I am now thinking about the parallels between this book and other novels where the protagonist commits murder in the first act. The grandfather of all books like this is Crime and Punishment, which it just so happens I am reading at the same time … Continue reading

The Economist’s flabby finales

A break from Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley today. Instead, a silly post about a serious magazine. Though it calls itself a newspaper,The Economist is the lodestar of news magazines, loved and hated by everyone (see this great piece on the roiling passions The Economist raises among other publishers here). Its mission statement is to “take … Continue reading

The Murder of Dickie Greenleaf

God only knew how deep the water was… [Nobody] could see anything they did here… he could have hit Dickie, sprung on him, or kissed him, or thrown him overboard. Talk about your options. If Freud was looking for a poster child for the clashing instincts of Eros and Thanatos he need look no farther … Continue reading

“I’m not queer.”

This is the follow-up to yesterday’s post on The Talented Mr. Ripley‘s complicated central relationship between Tom Ripley and Dickie Greenleaf. The scene is millionaire heir Dickie Greenleaf’s Italian villa where he has just walked in on his housemate Tom Ripley dressed in his clothes, imitating his voice. Dickie’s reaction? “What’re you doing?” They have … Continue reading