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Sharp Objects: A Novel Kindle Edition
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“A first novel that reads like the accomplished work of a long-time pro, the book draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction...Flynn's book goes deeper than your average thriller. It has all the narrative drive of a serious pop novel and much of the psychological complexity of a mainstream character study. All in all, a terrific debut.”
—Alan Cheuse, The Chicago Tribune
“A compulsively readable psychological thriller that marks [a] dazzling debut...[Flynn] has written a clever crime story with astonishing twists and turns, and enough suspense for the most demanding fans of the genre. But it is the sensitive yet disturbing depiction of her heroine that makes this an especially engrossing story...Flynn's empathic understanding of her major characters leads to storytelling that is sure and true, and it marks her a write to watch.”
“To say this is a terrific debut novel is really too mild. I haven't read such a relentlessly creepy family saga since John Farris's All Heads Turn as the Hunt Goes By, and that was thirty years ago, give or take. Sharp Objects isn't one of those scare-and-retreat books; its effect is cumulative. I found myself dreading the last thirty pages or so but was helpless to stop turning them. Then, after the lights were out, the story just stayed there in my head, coiled and hissing, like a snake in a cave. An admirably nasty piece of work, elevated by sharp writing and sharper insights.”
“Not often enough, I come across a first novel so superb that it seems to have been written by an experienced author, perhaps with 20 earlier books to his or her credit. I'm extremely excited to discover my first debut blowout this year, a sad, horrifying book called Sharp Objects...[Flynn] is the real deal. Her story, writing and the characters will worm their way uncomfortably beneath your skin...But this is more literary novel than simple mystery, written with anguish and lyricism. It will be short-listed for one or more important awards at the end of the year...Sharp Objects is a 2006 favorite so far. I doubt I'll ever forget it.”
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“A deeply creepy exploration of small-town Midwestern values and boasts one of the most deliciously dysfunctional families to come along in a while...[Flynn] handles the narrative with confidence and a surprisingly high level of skill...Wind Gap ends up the sort of place you'd never want to visit. But with Sharp Objects, you're in no hurry to leave.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Brilliant...Powerful, mesmerizing...A stunning, powerful debut from someone who truly has something to say.”
—San Jose Mercury News
“One of the best and most disturbing books I have read in a long time...Flynn never stoops to the gratuitous, and the torment produces haunting characters that hung around my imagination long after I had finished the book. Her skillful blending of old tragedies with new culminated in an 'oh-my-gosh' moment that I never saw coming. This book simply blew me away.”
—Kansas City Star
“Don't look here for the unrelenting self-deprecation and the moping over men common chick lit...I promise you'll be thoroughly unnerved at the end.”
“First-time novelist Flynn is a natural-born thriller.”
—People Style Watch
“A witty, stylish, and compelling debut. A real winner.”
“Flynn delivers a great whodunit, replete with hinting details, telling dialogue, dissembling clues. Better yet, she offers appalling, heartbreaking insight into the darkness of her women's lives: the Stepford polish of desperate housewives, the backstabbing viciousness of drug-gobbling, sex-for-favors Mean Girls, the simmering rage bound to boil over. Piercingly effective and genuinely terrifying.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Fans of psychological thrillers will welcome narrator/Chicago Daily Post reporter Camille Preaker with open arms...As first-time novelist Flynn expertly divulges in this tale reminiscent of the works of Shirley Jackson, there is much more to discover about Wind Gap and, most of all, about Camille.”
“This impressive debut novel is fueled by stylish writing and compelling portraits...In a particularly seductive narrative style, Flynn adopts the cynical, knowing patter of a weary reporter, but it is her portraits of the town's backstabbing, social-climbing, bored, and bitchy females that provoke her sharpest and most entertaining writing. A stylish turn on dark crimes and even darker psyches.”
“[A] chilling debut thriller...[Flynn] writes fluidly of smalltown America.”
“[Flynn]] offers up a literary thriller that's a doozy...and she does it with wit and grit, a sort of Hitchcock visits Stephen King, with plenty of the former's offstage and often only implied violence, and the latter's sense of pacing and facility with dialogue...This is not a comfortable novel of touchy-feely family fun. Rather, it is a tough tale told with remarkable clarity and dexterity, particularly for a first-time author.”
“A tense, irresistable thriller...Flynn's first-person narration is pitch-perfect, but even more impressive is the way she orchestrates the slim novel's onrushing tension toward a heart-stopping climax.”
“Darkly original...Flynn expertly ratchets up the suspense...A disturbing yet riveting tale.”
“Skillful and disturbing...Flynn writes so well. Sometimes she dips her pen in acid, sometimes she is lyrical, but always she chooses her words deftly...She has an unsparing eye for human imperfection and for the evil that moves among us.”
“Using understated, almost stark prose, Flynn paints a jagged, unflinching portrait of the vise-like psychological bonds between women, and how their demons lead to the perpetuation of cruelties upon themselves and others. The end result is an unsettling portrait of how long emotional wounds can last- and how deeply they hurt.”
“More in the tradition of Joyce Carol Oates than Agatha Christie, this one will leave readers profoundly disturbed. But from the first line...you know you're in the hands of a talented and accomplished writer.”
—The Boston Globe
“[A] breathtaking debut...Written with multiple twists and turns, Sharp Objects is a work of psychological prowess and page-turning thrills.”
“As suspenseful as the V.C. Andrews books you shared in high school, but much smarter.”
“Sharp Objects is one of the freshest debut thrillers to come around in a long while. It's a gripping, substantive story, stripped of cliche, and crafted with great style. The characters are refreshingly real, burdened with psychological issues that enrich the story. And the ending, which I was positive I could predict, is unpredictable. Sharp Objects is, indeed, quite sharp.”
“Sharp, clean, exciting writing that grabs you from the first page. A real pleasure.”
—Kate Atkinson, author of Case Histories and One Good Turn
10 Second Interview: A Few Words with Gillian Flynn
Q: Do you prefer writing novels or reviewing?
A: I think writing is more pure--and actually a bit easier for me. It's just me and my laptop, not me and my laptop and a TV show that 30 people have worked on. Reviewing keeps you sharp--I can hardly watch or read anything without taking notes now--but plain old writing I find actually relaxing.
Q: Do think your writing is influenced more by books that you have read, or shows/movies that you have seen?
A: My mom spent her career as a reading teacher and my dad is a retired film professor, so I was really steeped in both books and movies growing up. To this day, when I get my dad on the phone, pretty much his first sentence is "Seen anything good lately?" I love putting words together (I've never met a simile I didn't like), but when I write I often think in "scenes"--I want these two people, in a dirty bar, with this song playing in the background.
Q: I hear you are working on your second book...is it is too early to ask what it's about?
A: I'm still playing around with the whole plot--when I wrote Sharp Objects, I wasn't even sure who the killer was for a bit. But I can say [the new book] has to do with family loyalty, false memories, a wrenching murder trial, and a dash of good 'ole 1980s hair metal and devil worship.
Q: What is your writing process like? Have you changed anything about how you work since your first book?
A: My writing process is incredibly inefficient, and hasn't changed between books. I really don't outline: I know basically how I want the story to start, and vaguely how I want it to end (though like I said, with Sharp Objects even that changed!). Then I just write: Some characters I start finding more interesting, some less. I write entire swaths that I pretty much know I'll cut. I have an entire file of "deleted scenes." I guess the one thing that has physically changed is I moved into a new place since my first book--it has a great bathtub, and I'll prop my laptop up and write in the bath for hours. Which is, admittedly, weird.
--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B000JMKTLO
- Publisher : Crown; Reprint edition (September 26, 2006)
- Publication date : September 26, 2006
- Language : English
- File size : 6871 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 272 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1101902876
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #12,676 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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The sentence structure was also so atrocious, it distracted from the plot itself. I'm not sure there are more than five complete sentences in the entire book. I read Gone Girl, and I don't remember the sentence structure being such an issue in that book, which leads me to believe that Gillian Flynn chose to write Sharp Objects in mostly fragments, maybe to symbolize the fragmentation that is Camille's life (or all of these character's lives?). At any rate, it didn't work at all!
I would not recommend this book to anyone. Maybe the HBO show is better.
I heard about this book when HBO started advertising their 8-part mini-series starring Amy Adams based on the book. I’m a fan of Amy Adams, so I wanted to watch it, but before watching it, I thought I’d read the rather short (less than 300 pages) book. Apparently this was the author’s first published novel. She is probably more famously known for writing Gone Girl which was made into a popular 2014 big screen movie.
Sharp Objects is a twisted psychological thriller. There is a lot of getting into Camille’s (messed up) head. The story is more about her and her relationships with her mother and half-sister than it is about the girls’ murders. This story is fraught with all sorts of aberrant behavior: sex with teenagers, drug use, alcoholism, bullying, self-mutilation, child abuse, and murder.
Throughout the story, Camille battles with her past and her inner mind to keep from succumbing to the vortex of despair brought on by being in the sphere of influence of her deranged mother.
At first, I had a tough time reading and understanding the author’s writing style. Don’t use this text to teach proper English grammar! Once I grew accustomed to that style, the story was strangely gripping. Camille clearly has deep psychological problems. She is sucked into engaging in dangerous behaviors during her visit to Wind Gap.
As a psychological thriller, there isn’t much action and there is not much to the core story. Most of the interest is generated by learning about Camille and watching her get caught in the whirlpool of buried emotions that swell as she relives her childhood. It’s torturous to watch Camille endure things that would send me screaming back to Chicagothat’. Instead, she sticks to it until she finds the real killer and reconciles with her past.
The author does an excellent job of describing the setting and the characters. One noticeable writing characteristic is that she uses “like” (as in simile) in practically every other paragraph which, on the one hand, provides a way to poetically describe something and on the other hand, is annoyingly repetitious.
One brief comment about the TV series (since this blog post is a book review, not a TV review). My suggestion is to either watch the TV series OR read the book; not both.
Top reviews from other countries
This book is well-written, fast paced and entirely riveting. The compelling nature of the prose, the subject matter and the hard momentum driving the story makes for a psychologically gripping tale that'll stay with you for a long time to come. I have heard some quite negative feedback in terms of the style of writing but would point out that Sharp Objects was written for a teenage audience as opposed to an adult one. Personally, I feel the author has knocked it out of the park with this one, regardless of the reader's age.
It is dark, enchanting, thought-provoking and utterly gripping. I have awarded the book 4 stars from a possible 5 and I am more than happy to recommend it to other readers. Apologies for such a scant review - it's hard to say much without offering any spoilers!
If this review has been helpful to you please take the time to rate it by clicking 'yes' below. Many thanks!
But that’s not why I hated this book.
The debut novel from the author of Gone Girl – well, it just reads like a first novel. So much so that, five chapters in, I thought it might be worth catching the recent TV adaptation to see how the source material benefitted from a redraft. However, after 15 chapters of the author working through all of her most depraved ideas like a kid in a sandbox full of poison and rattlesnakes – followed by a breathless rush of plot in the final 30 pages – I was ready to set both it and the rest of my bookshelf on fire.
There’s a real nastiness to Sharp Objects: both in the heart of central character Camille, whose snippy, bitter observations about her home town and the people that she left behind go beyond that of your typical small town escapee; and in the plot. And the seedy, tossed-off details that provide “colour” to that plot: the younger sister’s obsession with factory-farm pigs. Statutory gang rape as a feminist right of passage. The throwaway “fridging” of one final murder victim. In fact, by that point I was rolling my eyes at every additional, unnecessary horror. Better that than let it bother me.
Of course, I wasn't introduced to Gillian Flynn until I read Gone Girl, which by the way, I loved. It instantly became one of my favourite books. I wanted more from her. This is when I was attracted to Sharp Objects. Her debut novel.
We are introduced to a Camille Preaker, a young journalist trying to make a better life for herself. Her sister Marian died at a young age and Camille has been battling her own demons. Her family is hurting and so is Camille, but she wants to focus on her career. That is until she's sent back to her hometown to report on the death of a girl in Wind Gap, Missouri, her hometown. Another girl is missing, and this is thought by her boss, Curry, to be a big story told by a local.
This is not a detective mystery where we follow the police. Law enforcement doesn't exist in this story.
Camille is investigator, reporter and resident. It's dark, it's gritty, it's disturbing, it's creepy. This is all achieved, in my opinion, from the characterisation.
The story itself is painfully slow. I actually found myself telling my better half repeatedly, 'nothing has happened'. The last 85% though is where EVERYTHING happens. It came and went as quick as a box of Krispy Kreme donuts!
To conclude, I enjoyed the way the story was told but I thought the book was way too slow.
It isn't a detective story - the cops are almost peripheral. We don't really know what the police are doing, and in a way it doesn't matter much - they come in at the end to make an arrest. It's a psychological thriller - most of the action takes place between the ears of the reporter. Her flaws and her damaged personality are key - that and her relationships with the other characters.
Worth reading - albeit bleak in the extreme. It probably won't appear in the Hicksville Bookshop under a "Local Author" sign
From the start it’s very easy to get drawn into Sharp Objects. The story is tremendously well written, compelling and attention grabbing. All of the characters in it are believable and wonderfully thought out. It’s almost eerie how convincing some of the individuals within this book are, in fact. The setting is detailed and, like the characters, feels very real. It’s creepy and compelling, dark but impossible to put down. Everything about the novel – the characters, the setting, the tone – has a very uneasy feel to it which fits the storyline perfectly.
As I was approaching the novel’s end I was both dreading and anticipating it thanks to my desire to find out the truth but my fear of what, exactly, it would be. I’ve got to say that it’s definitely an ending that’s hard to predict but still completely believable and chilling. I’d happily read this book again and now can’t wait to see what the TV series based on it is like. Basically I highly recommend this book and can’t wait to check out some more of Gillian Flynn’s work.
Update: I’ve got to admit that since writing this review I tried to watch the series but couldn’t really get into it. That being said I still highly recommend reading this book – even if, like me, you’re not a fan of the series since I found the book infinitely better.