My book club just read The Secret History by Donna Tartt. This is the second novel by her that we have read. The previous being Goldfinch. While I enjoyed both books they didn't wow me and they are very long. This book is over 500 pages so it will take a while to read. They were both a bit long winded for me and the story seemed to drag on for too long. In both stories there are many drug and alcohol references so be aware if this is an issue for you.
The Secret History was an interesting concept focusing on a small insular group of Classical scholars at a Vermont Liberal arts college, Hampden. Tartt does a wonderful job of developing her characters and you feel as though you know them well. We really get to know Richard, Bunny, Francis, Henry, Charles and Camilla as well as the supporting characters who appear throughout the story. They are definitely an interesting group with atypical interests and social skills.
The underlying story is a disturbing one and it makes you ponder whether this could really occur. Without giving any spoilers let's just say it is a big example of group think. The majority of the story occurs during one school year but the ending of the book provides a bit of a recap of where the characters stand in the future.
All in all it is a good read but if you don't like books with descriptive prose and are a bit slow paced, this may not be the book for you.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
While I enjoyed this book I didn't love it. In many ways it reminded me of John Knowles A Separate Peace. Similar premise of an event at a school with a flashback story telling style. While Tartt's writing is good, it feels like it is too long at times. I had a similar reaction to Goldfinch when I read it a few years ago. Basically, I neither love nor hate the book. I'm just somewhat indifferent to it.
Be aware the book is full of drug and alcohol references so if this is not appropriate for the intended reader this may not be the best selection for them.
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Challenge PromptsThe Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
- Library Love #LibraryLoveChallenge - Book #29
- Literary Escapes- VT
- Cloak and Dagger #CloakDaggerChal : Book #23
- Medical Examiner- 3 Toe Tag
- Popsugar- #popsugarreadingchallenge #48 published in the 20th century
- Around the Year in 52 Books- #14. by author on the Abe List of 100 Essential Female Writers
- Book List Queen #12 More Than 400 Pages
- 20 in 20: #Read20in2020 #15 book over 500 pages
- NJM #NJMBookChallenge2020 #10 book over 500 pages
- Beat the Backlist #BeatTheBacklist2020 #23 written before 2010
- 2020 TBR #2020TBRReadingChallenge #15 book over 500 pages
- TBR #Backlistreader ; #MountTBR2020; #StartOnYourShelfathon Book #20
- Wizarding World Tour
- Uagadou- a book over 450 pages