Customer Review

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A UNIQUELY PERSONAL READING, 25 Nov. 2002
This review is from: The Little Friend (Audio CD)
Donna Tartt, novelist, essayist, critic, and author of the blockbuster "The Secret History" brings a uniquely personal understanding to her reading of "The Little Friend."

A richly imagined story of familial ties and the pursuit of truth, Ms. Tartt's latest offering is sure to bring additional plaudits. No doubt, readers and listeners will find it well worth the decade long wait since Ms. Tartt's superlative debut novel. When asked why it took her ten years to write "The Little Friend," the author replied in part, "There's an expectation these days that novels - like any other consumer product - should be made on a production line, with one dropping from the conveyor belt every couple of years. But it's for every writer to decide his own pace, and the pace varies with the writer and the work.......When I was young, I was deeply struck by a piece of advice that John Gardner gave to beginning writers: ‘Write as if you have all eternity.' This is the last thing a publisher or an agent or an accountant would tell you, but it's the best advice in the world if you want to write beautiful, well-made books. And that's what I want to do. I'd rather write one good book than ten mediocre ones."
It would seem that Ms. Tartt is incapable of penning even a mediocre phrase, as her latest story attests - it is compelling, and memorable.
Nine-year-old Robin Cleve Dufresnes is found dead, hanging from a tupelo tree in his family's yard. Harriet was a mere baby when her brother's body was discovered, and his killer has never been found.
The boy's death virtually destroyed his mother who has turned inward and become a recluse; his father disappeared from the community where this tragedy occurred. Thus, Harriet and another sister, Allison, have been left to grow very much on their own. Their lives have been overseen by a black maid and a coterie of female relative, including a stern grandmother.
Twelve-year-old Harriet determines to catch her brother's murderer, deciding that it is Danny Ratliff. After all he comes from a family of down-at-the-heels criminals. Harriet and her good friend, Hely, begin to stalk the Ratliffs, a tactic which leads them into great danger.
Set in 1970s Mississippi, "The Little Friend" underscores the author's considerable gifts, not the least of which are her command of language, elegant prose, and mastery of suspense.
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