Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Secret History

The Secret History by Donna Tartt, 1992 (524 pages)

I actually put this book on my "to be read" list last fall, when the local library book club discussed it. I definitely didn't have time amidst moving in to our apartment to find and read the book, let alone go to the meeting to discuss it, but I thought it sounded good.

This is the story of a group of college friends. They attend a small, private school in Vermont, and they all study Greek. In fact, they take the vast majority of their classes from one professor, and there are only 6 of them in this group. The narrator, Richard, transfers in to the school, and so he is new to the group. As the inside flap of the book explains, "Mesmerized by his new comrades, Richard is unaware of the crime which they have committed in his dreamy, unwitting presence. But once taken into their confidence, he and the others slowly and inevitably begin to believe in the necessity of murdering the one classmate and friend who might betray both their secret and their future."

For some reason, it took me quite awhile to read this book. It was actually a fairly unique story, unlike anything I can remember reading. I enjoyed all the references to the learning of Greek and the love of this classic culture that the students have. I really don't know why I didn't get more into it. I think I would've enjoyed it more if I had simple been able to sit down more often and read large portions of it at once. The author lets you know in the Prologue the basics of what happened, and then the rest of the book is filling in the blanks. Although it was interesting trying to predict when and how it would happen, I think I might've liked it better if I hadn't known this major detail up front. In the third section of the book (it's divided into 3 sections), the reader doesn't know at all what's going on, and I found it more intriguing than the rest of the book. Overall, I'd give it 3.5 stars out of 5.


Total number of books read in 2009: 25

Total number of pages read in 2009: 9309

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