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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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5,614128762 (3.41)179
Member:Adanna
Title:The Little Friend
Authors:Donna Tartt
Info:Vintage (2003), Paperback, 640 pages
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The Little Friend by Donna Tartt (2002)

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» See also 179 mentions

English (109)  Dutch (9)  French (4)  Italian (2)  Finnish (2)  German (1)  All (127)
Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
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 |
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 |
The writing is very good (the first chapters in particular) but midway through the book the plotting gets saggy and the book feels overpopulated by irritating adults. Considering that main character Harriet is a spiky child herself, it's hard to find someone to root for.

While I'm not one of those who demands a nice, tidy ending (nor even a solution to the "who killed Robin" mystery established at the very beginning), there were just too many unresolved questions and plot lines by the end of the book. ( )
  mrsmig | Jan 19, 2018 |
Now I've finished all Donna Tartt's books and I feel depressed because it'll probably be 10 years before she releases another one. I liked this better than The Goldfinch, but not as much as The Secret History. The Little Friend only gets second place because the ending felt so abrupt and unsatisfying. I have to admit though, the main reason I loved this book is that as a former bossy, bookish twelve year old with a terrible haircut, I loved Harriet so much. ( )
  plumtingz | Dec 14, 2017 |
Gracious! Less than a minute after finishing all I can say is: "Is that all there is? Really? Is. that. All. there. Is." This is Tartt's second novel--braced between her first & third in so many decades--& it is clearly her middle child, neglected in all sorts of ways.

Don't get me wrong, Tartt is a very good hack. She structures periodic, multi-clausal sentences like a pro who's had ten years to revise them. EVERY sentence is unnecessarily effusively descriptive: twee-ly perfect & utterly gritless.

To take but two random samplings as evidence:
"Even now, Weenie's death had the waxy sheen of the linoleum in Edie's kitchen; it had the crowded feel of her glass-front cabinets (an audience of plates ranked in galleries, goggling helplessly); the useless cheer of red dishcloths and cherry-patterned curtains." (355)

"Her blood pounded, her thoughts clattered and banged around her head like coins in a shaken piggy-bank and her legs were heavy, like running through mud or molasses in a nightmare and she couldn't make them go fast enough, couldn't make them go fast enough, couldn't tell if the crash and snap of twigs (like gunshots, unnaturally loud) was only the crashing of her own feet or feet crashing down the path behind her." (436)

In sum: this unnecessarily lengthy book doesn’t deliver: she doesn’t resolve the primary mystery. Is it supposed to lead us to ask “interesting” questions like: “Is Tartt--like the director Michael Haneke--intentionally withholding from her audience?” “Is Tartt subtly mocking Brett Easton Ellis by refusing to gratify her audience’s interests?” “Did she forget to finish the novel?”

I will listen if someone gives me reason to believe I am being ungenerous in my assessment of this novel. ( )
1 vote reganrule | Oct 24, 2017 |
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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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)

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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)

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