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The Secret History by Donna Tartt
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The Secret History (1992)

by Donna Tartt

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,735265261 (4.09)531
Recently added bylewbs, grundlecat, Pegasusowl, dulcinea14, kerrygiven, private library
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» See also 531 mentions

English (246)  Dutch (7)  French (5)  Swedish (3)  Portuguese (1)  Spanish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (264)
Showing 1-5 of 246 (next | show all)
I'm not sure why this book was an international best seller. It's not awful or anything like that, and I have to admit the characters were my FAVORITE part of this book! I could have read 300+ more pages of just them interacting on a daily basis!

But the storyline? Ending was lame. Also, I wasn't a huge fan of almost everyone being in love with the same girl. LUCKILY, it wasn't a major plot point that really got in the way of my love of the characters, except for near the end, where everything good about the book went to hell in my opinion. ( )
  Czarmoriarty | Sep 14, 2014 |
I really enjoyed the first half of this book because the writing is so wonderful, despite the slim plot and unlikeable characters. Part of the structure involves discussing ancient Greek language, something I know absolutely nothing about, but I found it somehow entertaining rather than esoteric. The writing has a lot of humorous phrases and images- I often laughed out loud! However, the second half of the book really dragged on- I kept wondering why? As much as I enjoyed the first half, I was glad to be done with it. I will probably try another of her books. ( )
  keithostertag | Sep 11, 2014 |
A compelling, wonderful and timeless read. Enchanted me thoroughly! ( )
  Iira | Aug 31, 2014 |
I found this to be one of those books that, once started, would barely let me up for a glass of water. While the whole thing certainly stretches the bonds of credulity at times, Tartt's story, of a quintet of students at a small Vermont liberal arts college who find themselves caught in a very sticky tangled web of their own weaving, makes for captivating reading from start to finish. I'm glad I read it, but I have to say I'm also glad it's done, too, so that I can get the thoroughly unlikable characters out of my head. ( )
  JBD1 | Aug 12, 2014 |
The Secret History is Janus-faced. It is charming, ably written, entertaining throughout; it is plodding, indulgent, thematically shallow. Its plot brings together many of my fictional soft spots (small liberal arts colleges, New England, classics, murder); its plot was, in my opinion, its dullest feature. I do not at all regret reading it; I will never pick it up again.

One might think that, in a novel like this, these oppositions should blossom in some sort of Apollonian and Dionysian synthesis, but no. All that all this amounts to is the fact that the book doesn't live up to its full potential.

The Secret History is no must-read, but it is a veritable can-read, and for all it fails to be, it's still hard for me to dislike it too harshly for what it is. ( )
  williecostello | Aug 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 246 (next | show all)
As a ferociously well-paced entertainment, ... "The Secret History" succeeds magnificently. Forceful, cerebral and impeccably controlled, "The Secret History" achieves just what Ms. Tartt seems to have set out to do: it marches with cool, classical inevitability toward its terrible conclusion.
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tartt, Donnaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
de Wilde, BarbaraDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidd, ChipDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lange, Barbara deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siikarla, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Come then, and let us pass a leisure hour in storytelling, and our story shall be the education of our heroes.
-- PLATO,
Republic, Book II
I enquire now as to the genesis of a philologist and assert the following:
1. A young man cannot possibly know what Greeks and Romans are.
2. He does not know whether he is suited for finding out about them.
-- FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE,
Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen
Dedication
For Bret Easton Ellis,
whose generosity will never cease to warm my heart;
and for Paul Edward McGloin,
muse and Maecenas,
who is the dearest friend I will ever have in this world.
First words
The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of our situation. (Prologue)
Does such a thing as "the fatal flaw," that showy dark crack running down the middle of a life, exist outside literature?
Quotations
...how I longed to be an orphan when I was a child!
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Richard Papen arrived at Hampden College in New England and was quickly seduced by an elite group of five students, all Greek scholars, all worldy, self-assured, and, first glance, all highly unapproachable. As Richard is drawn into their inner circle, he learns a terrifying secret that binds them to one another...a secret about an incident in the woods in the dead of night where an ancient rite was brought to brutal life...and led to a gruesome death., And that was just the beginning...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140167773, Paperback)

Truly deserving of the accolade "Modern Classic", Donna Tartt's novel "The Secret History" is a remarkable achievement - both compelling and elegant, dramatic and playful. Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and for ever. "It takes my breath away". (Ruth Rendell). "Enthralling ...image the plot of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment crossed with the story of Euripides' "Bacchae" set against the backdrop of Bret Easton Ellis' "The Rules of Attraction"...forceful, cerebral and impeccably controlled...ferociously well-paced...remarkably powerful". ("The New York Times"). Donna Tartt was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, and educated at the University of Mississippi and Bennington College. She is a novelist, essayist, and critic and author of "The Little Friend". "The Secret History" has been translated into twenty-four languages.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:15 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Richard Papen had never been to New England before his nineteenth year. Then he arrived at Hampeden College and quickly became seduced by the sweet, dark rhythms of campus life -- in particular by an elite group of five students, Greek scholars, worldly, self-assured, and at first glance, highly unapproachable.… (more)

» see all 8 descriptions

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Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140167773, 0141037695

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