Reid's Reviews > The Secret History

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
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Dec 19, 07

Read in November, 2007

Having graduated from college just over a year ago, I find this portrait of college life infinitely satisfying. It doesn't hurt that I went to a small, private liberal arts college and took many of my credits in Classics. Nonetheless, I believe any reader can dig into and love this book. I began it on a Thursday and finished it on Tuesday morning at 2 AM. I read the book for 2 hours on a saturday night, for god's sake. Perhaps the best part of the book is that from the opening five pages, you know that one of the main characters will be murdered by the others. It's the elaborate tangle of a tale that draws you in, makes the reader pour himself into the narrator. In this way Tartt makes Richard the one we root for, the outsider in a new world of wealth and philhellenism. The six students take most, if not all, of their classes with Julian, an elderly Classics prof. The story takes on a truly sinister aspect when the characters begin to feud with each other and the ringleader, Henry, convinces the others to perpetrate a terrible act. The emotion and beauty of this novel ring clearly throughout; this is one to keep and pass on to others, a frightful novel illustrating the binary soul of Greek tragedy: Apollo's reason and Dionysus' passion.
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