In this sequel to the first novel The Talented Mr. Ripley we find Tom Ripley still living off those checks from Dickie Greenleaf, now married, and embroiled in an art forgery scandal.
What’s always funny to me about criminals is that too often, while there’s money to be made and all that, the amount of work required in order to make their enterprises work is equal to or greater than the return on investment of their enterprises. So the lengths that Tom Ripley must go to in order to maintain what is an oddly moderate lifestyle are quite extreme.
This book, like the first one, has this weird kind of amorality to it. Specifically, I am referencing a lack of morals more than a disregard for them. Tom doesn’t kill wantonly, but he does kill unemotionally. And so while he’s referred to in the extra material and notes and reviews as a psychopath, he comes off more as a sociopath to me. And the way that the novel narrates the story, we’re not on his side in the sense of justifying his actions but in the sense that we also don’t want his to be found out, lest he get caught and by implication WE get caught.
This book is a bit of a funny commentary on the art world. The whole mystery/suspense boils down to an art critic’s unscientific and unverified theory that once a color/paint is out of use by a painter, than its reintroduction later on is indicative of a forgery. I don’t know if this theory has any validity to it, but it’s such a facile interpretation, it’s great.