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The Secret History by Donna Tartt
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The Secret History (original 1992; edition 1993)

by Donna Tartt

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11,893324221 (4.08)596
Member:stgemma
Title:The Secret History
Authors:Donna Tartt
Info:Penguin Books (1993), Paperback, 660 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:books I own, academia, college, crime, murder, New England, thriller

Work details

The Secret History by Donna Tartt (1992)

  1. 181
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  8. 30
    The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler (zembla)
    zembla: A clique of elitist students' involvement in murder, told in foreboding prose. Tartt's writing is quietly eerie where Handler's is showily clever, reflecting the difference in their narrators' ages.
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    akblanchard: Dark happenings at elite New England schools.
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  14. 10
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    comtso: Mystery, murder and angst in college.
  15. 10
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    Becchanalia: Slow uncovering of a dark secret amongst a tight-knit group of friends. Lots of snow.
  16. 10
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    Bookmarque: Reminiscent because of the group of students, but this murder is more shrouded and the supporting characters more distinct.
  17. 00
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    BookshelfMonstrosity: Something disturbing sometimes happens when young people congregate. These gothic tales feature young, bohemian, and intellectual characters becoming caught up in relationships that lead to tragic results.
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(see all 30 recommendations)

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» See also 596 mentions

English (302)  Dutch (9)  French (5)  Swedish (5)  Portuguese (1)  Spanish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (324)
Showing 1-5 of 302 (next | show all)
A compelling story told in beautiful prose, with a somewhat underwhelming conclusion. I loved the complex characters, though felt most disconnected from the main character. ( )
  LaPhenix | Apr 28, 2016 |
THis is SOOOO LONG, but so compelling - an interesting look into how mob mentality can convince someone without strong morals or even a strong path in life to commit a crime. PERFECT example of an unreliable narrator - you only know what he knows and he discovers some things, but he also admits that everything is colored by his own impressions. ( )
  trinityM82 | Apr 28, 2016 |
When I first read this book a few months ago, it was a solid 3 star read. This was perhaps a little bit because it had been hyped up as a "creepy, mystery story." I did not find it particularly creepy. Nor was it the typical "whodunnit" I was expecting. I also found the characters unsympathetic, and very frustrating.

However, this story has stuck with me. The setting, the characters, the psychological explorations... they were certainly interesting-- and while certain aspects were frustrating, they were also fascinating in a very unique way. This book made me think, and that is not something to be dismissed. I have a feeling I am going to enjoy this much more on my second read. ( )
  daniellamaria8 | Apr 9, 2016 |
I like best next to Goldfinch. Beautifully written and there is crime at its center. ( )
  Gary10 | Apr 9, 2016 |
Check out my two-part review of this book on my blog, Opinions of a Bookaholic! http://opinionsofabookaholic.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-secret-history-donna-tartt... ( )
  M_Sawtelle | Apr 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 302 (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!
[They were] sitting at a table that was spread with papers and pens and bottles of ink. The bottles of ink I remember particularly, because I was very charmed by them, and by the long black straight pens, which looked incredibly archaic and troublesome.
[The tutor] reached for a pen in a cup on his desk; amazingly, it was full of Montblanc fountain pens, Meisterstucks, at least a dozen of them.
"Guess what," said Bunny, "Henry bought himself a Montblanc pen." ... He nodded at the cup of sleek black pens that sat on Julian's desk. "How much are those things worth? ... Three hundred bucks a pop? ... I remember when you used to say how ugly they were. You used to say you'd never write with a thing in your life but a straight pen." ... Bunny picked [the pen] up and turned it back and forth in his fingers. "It's like the fat pencil I used to use in first grade," he said. ... "Now, what kind of pens do we all use here? Francois, you're a nib-and-bottle man like myself, no? ... and you, Robert? What sort of pens did they teach you to use in California?" "Ball points," I said.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:56 -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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140167773, 0141037695

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