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The Secret History
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ARCHIVE 2013 > SEPTEMBER 2013: The Secret History: Reviews by 2013 Reading Challengers

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message 1: by Kara, TBR Twins (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kara (karaayako) | 3964 comments Finished the book (or previously read it)? Post your review here. We would love to hear your thoughts.

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Cherise (inkdrinkingmoth) This has to be one of my all time favourite books. I just read it this year a few months ago and fell in love. I can't wait to see other people read it and see what they think.


message 3: by Jack (last edited Sep 06, 2013 05:49PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jack Hansen | 321 comments The Secret History
The Secret History by Donna Tartt Donna Tartt by Donna Tartt

Donna Tartt's superb character development and excellent use of vocabulary and sentence structure weaves a thrilling narrative of suspense and intrigue that leaves one wanting more. (view spoiler) Tartt is simply marvelous at creating empathy for these characters while surprising one with twists and turns until the final chapter and epilogue.


Theresa~OctoberLace (octoberlace) | 773 comments Donna Tartt did a wonderful job of developing a cast of unlikable characters and weaving a story line that kept my interest throughout. The setting is a small college in New England. The major characters are an elite group of six students studying Classic literature in Greek, Latin, and other languages, under the tutelage of a renowned scholar who teaches for the love of teaching. It sounds ideal, but there are dark undertones to the true nature of their lives.

From the beginning, the reader learns that the students are involved in a murder. Part I introduces the players, disclosing their backgrounds, strengths, and weaknesses, leading the reader to see that we are dealing with a very flawed group of characters, including the professor. We see their interactions as a group and with others in the college and community, leading up to the murder itself. Part II then takes the reader through their individual and collective reactions to what has occurred. This is not a likeable group, but they did escape being caught and brought to justice. None of them, however, went free from their demons and the psychological impact of their crime.

I give this book 4*.


message 5: by Kara, TBR Twins (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kara (karaayako) | 3964 comments Five of five stars

I loved this. Maybe it's because I was a philosophy major in college who specialized in virtue ethics, maybe because some of the conversations reminded me of the kinds of discussions we had in my Plato or moral epistemology courses (which, honestly, made me wince a little because we'd been so pretentious). I can't quite put my finger on it. I generally don't like mysteries, and I generally don't like books without any likable characters (like The Corrections, ugh). This was both.

Richard goes to college far from home, makes up a new story about his life before school, and becomes intrigued by a group of students who study Greek. This is the story about his transition from outsider to insider, a cult-like group who cuts itself almost entirely out of normal college life, a murder, and its aftermath.

We start by knowing who's killed and by whom. We then proceed to slowly, over the course of the book, learn why. Tartt does this masterfully and artfully. I could hardly put it down.


Londa (londalocs) | 117 comments This novel started out with so much promise, but ultimately left too many unanswered questions. For a book that tells you right at the beginning that a murder was committed, it still left too many dangling threads that went nowhere. It could have been so much better if Tartt would have explored the relationships between the characters more. Her prose was also exceptional, but it could not compensate for the other flaws. When I get to the end of a book of this length, I don't expect to still have lots of "Why?" questions floating around in my head, but I did with The Secret History.

I thought the characters were very well written. I felt that all of them would have been right at home with Niles and Frasier Crane http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frasier_... . They may have been out-of-sync with the 80's timeline they were supposed to be a part of though.

Overall, still a good read, but nothing I would go out of my way to recommend. I might still seek out more of Tartt's work because it is clear that she is a talented writer.


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The Corrections (other topics)
The Secret History (other topics)

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Donna Tartt (other topics)