Tobey asked:

I'm just at the beginning, but wondering where this story is going. I felt the same about The Goldfinch. She is a terrific writer, but her stories meander and I begin to lose interest. I feel as though I am in a long fog-filled hallway trying to get to the exit at the other end. Does anyone else feel this way?

To answer questions about The Secret History, please sign up.
Virpi I believe it's just Tartt's way of writing: she's a "meanderer". She draws a lot from classic art and literature and her style of writing, I believe, is also meant to reflect this. Unfortunately, in out high speed instant fix -culture readers don't seem to appreciate details and storytelling. There's more to a good book than just the plot. (Try reading Dostoevsky or Dickens or, even more, older classics such as were mentioned in this book.)
Tim Wilsbach Yes, yes, yes. This book could have been half as long and would have been twice as good. I had the same issue with The Goldfinch, specifically while the story was in Vegas. This book to a greater degree. Finally got through it, pretty underwhelmed.
Judy Lindow Well if this is a fog filled hallway, it's where I belong when I read a good book. But to each their own. I would rather slit my throat than read something like a Stephen King or most popular novels, after having read Donna Tartt.
Tressa Meandering is the perfect word to sum up Tartt's writing. And I say this even though I don't mind slow-buildup books that pay off at the end. I found myself losing interest in this story where nothing seemed to happen for the longest time, and when it does, it was not very interesting. She seems to put more detail into the characters than the actual plot. I feel the same way about The Goldfinch: interesting characters with not much going on.
Leila Hanaumi I think that you'll begin to enjoy it a lot more when you look at the details that Tartt gives you as clues to why the characters behave certain ways, their back stories, and how things will unfold.
Conner Shelby Well! This a difficult question to answer if your primary reading experience is Harry Potter. For those truly experienced readers with educational backgrounds in literary criticism, this is a great read. Perhaps due to the show-womanship Tartt consistently and continually exhibits throughout the entire novel. If you have any doubts, count her adjectival forms--how many and how varied--it is almost beyond conception--especially pre-internet. If this concept is beyond you--well, there you go. Not enough experience with good writing. Stick to television.
Kristen M EXACTLY. ABSOLUTELY. Well said.
Skye1310 I do find that Donna Tartt's books can be a bit slow, the first time I tried reading the secret history I didn't finish it, but it does start to get going a little bit at nearly 200 pages in.
Jane I loved the Goldfinch so that is why I chose this book. It does take a while to get into it but it's worth the read. Still not as good as the Goldfinch.
I do wonder about her fascination with young men so heavily into drugs and alcohol. I had tp skim parts of the Goldfinch because they were so disturbing.
HILARY After reading the Goldfinch, I had high expectations and knew that I was going to transported out of the mundane into a series of unpredictable scenarios. I have just reached the point where one realises why Bunny was 'bumped off'......but the 'wondering where the story is going' is part & parcel of building the suspense....I love the way she writes and evokes the atmosphere of places (that I know I will probably never visit), so well, so I just settle down, relax and enjoy the writing and that's maybe what you should do too.....
Image for The Secret History
Rate this book
Clear rating

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more