Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Secret History Paperback – September 11, 1992
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
“The Secret History succeeds magnificently. . . . A remarkably powerful novel [and] a ferociously well-paced entertainment. . . . Forceful, cerebral, and impeccably controlled.” --The New York Times
“An accomplished psychological thriller. . . . Absolutely chilling. . . . Tartt has a stunning command of the lyrical.” --The Village Voice
“Beautifully written, suspenseful from start to finish.” --Vogue
“A haunting, compelling, and brilliant piece of fiction. . . . Packed with literary allusion and told with a sophistication and texture that owes much more to the nineteenth century than to the twentieth.” --The Times (London)
“Her writing bewitches us. . . . The Secret History is a wonderfully beguiling book, a journey backward to the fierce and heady friendships of our school days, when all of us believed in our power to conjure up divinity and to be forgiven any sin.” --The Philadephia Inquirer
“Enthralling. . . . A remarkably powerful novel [and] a ferociously wll-paced entertainment. . . . Forceful, cerebral, and impeccably controlled.” --The New York Times Book Review
“A huge, mesmerizing, galloping read, pleasurably devoured. . . . .Gorgeously written, relentlessly erudite.” –Vanity Fair
From the Inside Flap
Truly deserving of the accolade a modern classic, Donna Tartt's novel is a remarkable achievement--both compelling and elegant, dramatic and playful.
Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The story is a kind of 1980s bildungsroman - a kind of "The Great Gatsby" for the Age of Cocaine. This is probably not surprising since the author, Donna Tartt, went to school with and dated Brett Easton Ellis, the author of nihilistic, drug-soaked novels like "Less than Zero" and "American Psycho." There is a sense of this nihilism in The Secret History, but also there is the alcohol saturation of The Great Gatsby.
The story begins with Richard Papen, a middle-class community college student, who applies to an Ivy League college, Hampden College, and is accepted. The story follows Richard as he gets accepted by Julian Morrow's Classics program and becomes friends with his fellow Classics students: stoic Henry, homosexual Francis, the twins Charles and Camilla, and the loudmouth Bunny. The story opens with the murder of Bunny by five other Classics students, so that is not a spoiler. The first part of the book builds up to why the murder happened; the second half of the book deals with the aftermath of the murder.
The first half of the book is a bit slow as Tartt sets up the relationships between the parties and builds up their characteristics. This half occasionally dragged, but was redeemed by excellent writing and a fair number of literary allusions. However, the second half of the book paid off in tension and the secrets of the characters.
I won't be the first person to note that these are not likable characters. The whole group are pompous, pretentious, perpetually drunk and have too much money for their own good. If you played a drinking game in the second half of the book of taking a shot whenever a character was described as drinking, you would be in the hospital getting your stomach pumped. It made me wonder about Tartt's years in her Ivy League college; did it really float on booze or was this what Tartt imagined as the archetypal college environment? Likewise, I was surprised by the references to the casual use of meth at an Ivy League college. We tend to think of meth as low-class; was it a new and trendy drug in the late 1980s?
Tartt's writing is superb. I also enjoyed watching her develop her plot. Things happened because they had to happen, but they also happened because the characters made them happen. The characters shared their secrets and kept their secrets in a way that tantalized and kept the reader interested.
Tartt was the reader of the audiobook. She did a very nice job, surprisingly nice in its professionalism. The one odd bit was that Tartt has a southern accent, and she gave her Yankee characters something of a southern twang (although she also did a starchy Vermont accent when the occasion required.) All in all, the audiobook was an enjoyable experience.
While I thought that the main characters were not likable, I found myself coming to like them. (Oddly, as I reflect on the book, the only character I consistently liked as a character was the drug-using, drug-dealing friend of Bunny's, Cloak Rayburn, who seemed to provide a comedy element to the story and the occasional good advice.) I also came to like these unlikable friends, as I came to accept their quirks. College is a time of quirkiness and making fast friends who remain for a lifetime.
But, perhaps, not over murder, although a good college friend should help you move the body.
I was constantly surprised as I read, never knowing who to trust or what was really happening behind the often unreliable narrative. This is a fascinating melange of genres, of showing and telling. Like The Goldfinch, I expect to reread this at some point. Strongly recommended if you like literature to challenge you while always being accessible.
My only complaint is with the Kindle edition, which includes several random sections repeated after the end. I read them for a while, thinking maybe it would prove another challenge, showing an alternative parallel universe where things went differently. In the end, it was clear this was an editor’s error and I stopped with maybe 100 pages to go. I hope I didn’t miss anything, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t.
Most recent customer reviews
I was surprised by the number of positive reviews of this book.Read more