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The Little Friend by Donna Tartt
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The Little Friend (original 2002; edition 2003)

by Donna Tartt

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5,7181301,089 (3.41)184
Member:mrstreme
Title:The Little Friend
Authors:Donna Tartt
Info:Vintage (2003), Paperback, 640 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**1/2
Tags:Orange Prize, Orange January 2012, Mississippi, Southern Literature, Coming of Age Tale, Crime, Family Relationships

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The Little Friend by Donna Tartt (2002)

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» See also 184 mentions

English (112)  Dutch (10)  French (4)  Finnish (2)  Italian (2)  German (1)  All languages (131)
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
I love books where childhood hits against the reality of the world and one's family.

The author deftly weaves very common actions with a child's wonder. That wonder is a handy tool, a the heroine sails forth to cross boundaries in search of an awful truth.

Excellent use of language, deft pacing, an all-around winner for me. ( )
  ErisPrincipia | Jun 11, 2018 |
This is an absolutely fabulous read which beams the reader to a hot 1970s summer in Mississippi and the dysfunctional Cleve family. After the murder- unsolved - of their young son, twelve years earlier, the parents have drifted apart. Father lives and works away; mother is absent, distracted - the care of her remaining two daughters falling mainly to the home help, Ida, and her own mother and aunts..elderly, formerly well-to-do southerners. Elder daughter Allison still seems traumatized by the past; and the younger child, Harriet, is on the cusp of adolescence, intelligent, challenging...and determined to spend her holidays finding her brother's killer...
This is emphatically not to be read as a murder mystery- although expect some thrilling moments. Tartt does an amazing job at evoking the world of the child becoming an adult. And this is far from a world of gentility, magnolias and mansions, as the seamy side of Mississippi life figures large too, with the criminal Ratliff brothers and their cohorts; meth manufacture, mental illness, snake-handling clergymen...
Other reviewers have commented on the novel's failure to tie up the loose ends and definitively answer the important question....but I don't think that makes it a failure as a story. Harriet is the protagonist; she acts, she sets events in motion, and in life there are not always clear cut answers.
I don't think the cover does this book any favours- featuring a grotesque doll, the reader might imagine a Chucky type horror tale, whereas this is a highly literary, descriptive and classy work.
One you'll never forget. ( )
  starbox | Jun 2, 2018 |
So... this is definitely my least favorite one of Donna Tartt's books. I really liked the idea behind the story but not so much the execution. The beginning and the end were the best parts; I wish the middle hadn't been quite so long, and dragging. Still, considering this is Tartt's "worst" book (at least in my opinion), I think it just goes to show that her standard is pretty high. Because I didn't think it was a bad book; I just think it could have been so much better - especially with Tartt's talent - and I wish it had lived up to its potential. ( )
  UDT | May 1, 2018 |
3.5 stars ( )
  Kirstielee | Apr 16, 2018 |
This is one of the best books ever written, in my humble opinion. Donna Tartt worked on this for 10 years, and the outcome was outstanding and worth the wait. I cannot see this at a book sale without picking it up to give to someone.
The story is a fantastically gothic one of a little girl, raised in the south by her extended family of great-aunts and housekeeper, after the mysterious death of her older brother destroys her own family's will and unity. She resolves that she will find out what happened with her best friend and gets involved in comic and terrible situations.
This book is heartbreaking, frightening, suspenseful, comic, joyous and simply a wonder to read. I wish there were more books written like this!



( )
  HardcoverHearts | Mar 24, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tartt, Donnaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jonkheer, ChristienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lange, Barbara deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mossel, BabetTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rabinovitch, AnneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The slenderest knowledge that may be obtained of the highest things is more desirable than the most certain knowledge obtained of lesser things.

--Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica I, 1, 5 AD 1
Ladies and gentlemen, I am now locked up in a handcuff that has taken a British mechanic five years to make. I do not know whether I am going to get out of it or not, but I can assure you I am going to do my best.

--Harry Houdini, London Hippodrome, Saint Patrick's Day, 1904
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For the rest of her life, Charlotte Cleve would blame herself for her son's death because she had decided to have the Mother's Day dinner at six in the evening instead of noon, after church, which is when the Cleves usually had it.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679439382, Hardcover)

The hugely anticipated new novel by the author of The Secret History—a best-seller nationwide and around the world, and one of the most astonishing debuts in recent times—The Little Friend is even more transfixing and resonant.

In a small Mississippi town, Harriet Cleve Dusfresnes grows up in the shadow of her brother, who—when she was only a baby—was found hanging dead from a black-tupelo tree in their yard. His killer was never identified, nor has his family, in the years since, recovered from the tragedy.

For Harriet, who has grown up largely unsupervised, in a world of her own imagination, her brother is a link to a glorious past she has only heard stories about or glimpsed in photograph albums. Fiercely determined, precocious far beyond her twelve years, and steeped in the adventurous literature of Stevenson, Kipling, and Conan Doyle, she resolves, one summer, to solve the murder and exact her revenge. Harriet’s sole ally in this quest, her friend Hely, is devoted to her, but what they soon encounter has nothing to do with child’s play: it is dark, adult, and all too menacing.

A revelation of familial longing and sorrow, The Little Friend explores crime and punishment, as well as the hidden complications and consequences that hinder the pursuit of truth and justice. A novel of breathtaking ambition and power, it is rich in moral paradox, insights into human frailty, and storytelling brilliance.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:01 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Growing up in a small Mississippi town in a family haunted by the murder of her brother, Robin, Harriet Cleve Dusfresnes lives in a world of her imagination, until, at the age of twelve, she decides to find Robin's murderer and exact her revenge.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 15 descriptions

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