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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 51 reviews(2 star). Show all reviews
on 5 July 2015
Opinions seem to vary on this one, everything from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Being a thorough sort of person I did read through to the end, but only for that reason, and only a week or so after putting it down I had to check other reviews just to remind myself what it was about. It seems that a novella's worth of plot was stretched over about 650 pages, OK if you like that treatment but not for me. I am glad I bought it 'on offer', it enabled me to give DT a fair go but I won't be going back for more.
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on 16 September 2014
A interesting premise, but overwritten, under plotted and with very little consequence. There's the nub of a good, short novel somewhere in here, but it's barely worth reading the 600 pages to find it.
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on 18 November 2013
I bought this book after reading an enthusiastic article about it In The Guardian where it was described as a classic. In fact it has little merit other than an unusual structure , a moderately interesting narrator, and some thinking on the workings of guilt and conscience. But the world of the novel is deeply unpleasant and shallow as are most of the characters. It is a long winded and empty piece of work.
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on 3 February 2014
It's not fashionable to diss La Tartt. But I do feel she's s a bit 'marmite'. As much as I loved her latest book, The Goldfinch, I really couldn't get on with this one. I tried to read it when first published all those years ago and gave up on it at that point. Having recently read The Goldfinch, I thought I must have been mistaken and I should give The Secret History another go. I should have followed my first instinct. I hated every character in the book, they were weak and extremely unpleasant. I didn't care about any of them either way and I found the story just plain nasty. It was also too long. For me, it was like wading though treacle but finish it I diid although there was nothing about the book or reading it that provided any positives for me. Strange huh because The Goldfinch is one of the best books I've read in my own recent history and I highly, highly recommend it -- although I know people who hated that one too!
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on 31 August 2015
After a promising and beautifully written first part, with the threat of menace always in the air, the story degenerates into melodrama with characters that are not believable and for whom one can feel no empathy or understanding....rich American kids, getting drunk and stoned and acting stupidly. I finished the book but only just. Also irritating is the American spelling of English words and some poor proof reading.
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on 17 October 2014
Having just read the other reveiws for this book I realize that I might have missed something here.
I found the book slow, boring and indulgent. None of the characteres resonated for me. I could not have cared less about their outcome. There was not one character that I embraced.
If the book had not come highly reccommended I would have definitely have given up on it. However, I forced myself to read it right to the end, including the epilogue.
I did not warm to it. I did not embrace the story or the characters and quite honestly whilst it was "Different" I wished I hadn't wasted that time when there are so many other good books out there waiting to be read.
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on 8 November 2013
I'm sad to say I only managed to get to the 4th chapter and had it been in printed form I would have hurled the book across the room.

Long chapters filled with unnecessary words to tell us just how bad a character is, how unjust they are,how selfish,how tedious and odius, how boring and trite,how spoilt and money grabbing how unjust, a leach a drunk a bore an evil nasty type and on and on and on and on..... and useing words an average reader would have to constantly interupt the flow by refering to a dictionary. Plane vanity.

Too many words? yes but you get my drift.
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on 2 July 2007
Like some other reviewers of The Secret History, I was intrigued by the swathes of commendations for this story. It is categorised as a modern classic so I was eager to find out if the hype was worthy.

The story follows Richard Papen, a college student enrolled at a Hampden College. He is at first isolated but is soon accepted into a small clique of rather curious and dubious individuals. Studying classics, they all fall under the guise of tutor and teacher Julian Morrow. Soon, friendship within the group is strained and one particular, infuriating individual ends up dead.

When I was around 200 pages into this book, I began to get frustrated with the slow and often digressive story line. Half way through, it became apparent to me that the author was intent on making this book 600 plus pages - and like other reviewers who have criticised this book, it is the book's length that is the main problem. At least 150/200 pages could have been omitted, when the the author decided to tell all sorts of irrelevancies. At times, pages were just 'used up' to make it longer. This is as much an editorial fault as an author's but to me it was costly - the book was padded and the storyline suffered.

There are problems with Tartt's plot and characters. This is anything but plot centric. I can accept a few coincidences in a story and any story has to be granted some leeway, (which I gave The Secret History), but after a while, there were far too many coincidences and it soon degenerated into implausibility. For instance, the part where Bunny falls asleep at Henry's house and then wakes on the group's return (in robes!) was one of many examples. The only real character to work was Julian Morrow and Tartt decided to omit him for most of the book. Charles and Camilla were unbelievable as was Francis. And then there was Richard, who really I never found very convincing - the clever Richard, who was happy to sleep in sub-minus temperatures without seeking help. Some scholar! Henry was more convincing but at the same time, flawed.

Tartt did write the book well, even if it is a bit overwritten at times. Sadly this book did become pretty boring in parts, and really I was left disappointed and let down by a somewhat rambling prose, which was designed to lead you somewhere but in its entirety, it never did.
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on 29 March 2015
Couldn't get into this book at all and found the language and old style of the book very heavy going to put it down after a couple of chapters. I'm sure it probably got better as the reviews are great but it just wasn't for me.
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on 15 July 2016
Didn't find anything really enjoyable about this book. It was so long winded in the beginning that I found it hard to keep going with it but I love the goldfinch so thought I would preserve. I am a little disappointed I did, it was a bit of a boring story in general to be honest. The author is very good at building characters with depth, although I hated all of them, but I was disappointed with the storyline.
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