- Paperback: 660 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (27 May 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0804111359
- ISBN-13: 978-0804111355
- ASIN: 0140167773
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.7 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 823 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Secret History Paperback – 27 May 1993
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The Secret History succeeds magnificently ... A remarkably powerful novel [and] a ferociously well-paced entertainment ... Forceful, cerebral, and impeccably controlled (New York Times)
So irresistible and seductive it's almost a guilty pleasure (Guardian)
A huge, mesmerizing, galloping read (Vanity Fair)
Donna Tartt is an amazingly good writer. She's dense, she's allusive. She's a gorgeous storyteller (Stephen King)
Takes my breath away (Ruth Rendell)
Brilliant and compulsive (Evening Standard)
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)
A misfit at an exclusive New England college, Richard finds kindred spirits in the five eccentric students of his ancient Greek class. But his new friends have a horrific secret. When blackmail and violence threaten to blow their privileged lives apart, they drag Richard into the nightmare that engulfs them. And soon they enter a terrifying heart of darkness from which they may never return.See all Product description
From the Publisher
- Published 3rd August 2017
- 640 Pages
- 129 mm x 198mm x 27mm 438g
The Secret History
25th anniversary edition
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 for ever.
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I enjoyed it much more than The Goldfinch. It kept to a single thread, and the descriptions, although there were more of them than modern convention suggests, we’re evocative and to me, added to the story.
This book was published in 1992, but harks back to a time more reminiscent of the early 1900's in style. The language used by some of the characters, namely Bunny, is reminiscent of The Great Gatsby. The characters are proper, intelligent, well-spoken,well-dressed, apparently wealthy young people, yet their lives are fueled by drink, drugs, and cigarettes. The drug abuse in this book is merely an undertone of the main story and therefore not as striking, especially considering the characters go about their addictions as though they are of no importance at all. This however, creates an air of mystery - building a world that few of us could ever know. A secret world of intoxication and prose. Of fine restaurants and best suits.
The story is better described as a 'whydunnit' - opening with the death of a main character, with Book 1 of the story describing the events leading to the death, and Book 2 describing the events after the death. Our narrator, Richard, arrives at the fictional Hampden College with the intention of continuing his studies in Greek, and there has his first encounter with enigmatic tutor Julian, who eventually permits him to study in his small selective class of only six students. Previously fascinated with these students, Richard soon finds himself drawn into their world of bygone-time splendor. Richard struggles to open himself up to the group, especially as they are all of discernible wealth, and he has entered the school on Financial Aid to the horror of his Californian parents, but soon finds that they are keeping a far bigger secret from him.
The relationships between the main characters throughout the book are extremely interesting. At times it seems like everyone is sleeping with everyone, everyone hates everyone, everyone loves everyone. These friends are as family members, and move only together. As events unfold and some characters begin to lose themselves to either love, alcohol, murderous intentions, or drugs, the plot moves fantastically, with barely a dull paragraph. As previously mentioned, the use of such ornate and graceful language builds both atmosphere and suspense. It was a pleasure to read and I have even noticed Donna Tartt's use of language sneaking into my day to day writing and speech.
This book is a dark and classical masterpiece, the plot points of which you will never expect until they happen. I look forward to reading more of Tartt's work.
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