David Huebert and Nathan Ripley recommend 2 classic thrillers
This interview originally aired on March 23, 2019.
David Huebert and Nathan Ripley — the pseudonym of journalist Naben Ruthnum — are two up-and-coming Canadian writers. Huebert followed up winning the CBC Short Story Prize in 2016 with releasing his debut short story collection, Peninsula Sinking. Ripley has written two thrillers, 2018's Find You in the Dark and 2019's Your Life is Mine.
Both writers say they find inspiration in the classics. For Huebert, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is timeless, while Ripley says Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley is an important book to him.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Huebert: "This was the first book of science fiction ever written. I love the story of its creation. It was originally written around a campfire in a ghost story contest. I think it's a great tale of monstrous birth, a great ghost story. What it really does is create the idea of the shadow side of ourselves: this monstrous creature. That monstrous creature then comes back to haunt us; many of us are familiar with that kind of experience. It's a book that lasts the test of time."
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
Ripley: "It's a very important book to me, just in how elegantly written and psychologically deep it is. It has all these parallels to The Ambassadors by Henry James, which is the last thing you'd expect to find in a thriller about a man who is trying to assume the identity of another person. He takes over their life because he simply doesn't want to be a loser anymore, which is what he's always seen himself as. It's a great novel about American aspiration, murder and how lovely Europe is. I highly recommend it."
David Huebert and Nathan Ripley's comments have been edited for clarity and length.