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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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15,736460250 (4.06)686
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 forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.… (more)
Member:ncw
Title:The Secret History
Authors:Donna Tartt
Info:Penguin Books Ltd (1993), Paperback, 640 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work details

The Secret History by Donna Tartt (1992)

  1. 213
    Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl (Eumenides)
  2. 141
    The Likeness by Tana French (tangentialine, cransell, Skippy74, GodOfTheAnthill, Booksloth)
    tangentialine: Same sense of the mysterious, same sense of intense psychological speculation.
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    The Magicians by Lev Grossman (kraaivrouw)
  4. 93
    The Magus by John Fowles (WoodsieGirl)
  5. 72
    Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris (amyblue, ecleirs24)
  6. 62
    The Lake of Dead Languages: A Novel by Carol Goodman (amyblue, lahochstetler)
  7. 52
    The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis (yokai)
  8. 31
    A Separate Peace by John Knowles (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Dark happenings at elite New England schools.
  9. 20
    The Raising by Laura Kasischke (comtso)
    comtso: Mystery, murder and angst in college.
  10. 42
    Waking the Moon by Elizabeth Hand (kraaivrouw)
    kraaivrouw: Dionysian events at college ...
  11. 31
    If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio (RiversideReader)
  12. 31
    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.
  13. 21
    A Traitor to Memory by Elizabeth George (DAR1102)
  14. 10
    Tam Lin by Pamela Dean (Aquila)
    Aquila: Though it's a much nicer book.
  15. 10
    The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (Becchanalia)
    Becchanalia: Slow uncovering of a dark secret amongst a tight-knit group of friends. Lots of snow.
  16. 10
    The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    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.
  17. 10
    A Fatal Inversion by Barbara Vine (Bookmarque, KayCliff)
    Bookmarque: Reminiscent because of the group of students, but this murder is more shrouded and the supporting characters more distinct.
  18. 00
    Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis (Vulco1)
    Vulco1: A look at elitist rich kids who get in over their heads and spiral out of control.
  19. 00
    A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (urban_lenny)
    urban_lenny: Similar New England setting, some similarities between the characters of Owen and Bunny, both stories told with the foreshadowing of death.
  20. 00
    The Distant Echo by Val McDermid (Becchanalia)

(see all 33 recommendations)

1990s (33)
To Read (24)
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» See also 686 mentions

English (432)  Dutch (8)  Swedish (6)  French (6)  Italian (3)  Portuguese (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Latvian (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (460)
Showing 1-5 of 432 (next | show all)
This book gets progressively more inane the longer you read. ( )
  Teuthex | Jun 24, 2021 |
good not great. moody erudite but written by one too young. ( )
  farrhon | Jun 2, 2021 |
Donna Tartt's writing style instantly clicked with me the moment I opened the book and read the words, whispering under my breath on a suitably silent night, the ticking of the clock the impervious bystander and witness: "Does such a thing as 'the fatal flaw', that showy dark crack running down the middle of a life, exist outside literature? I used to think it didn't. Now I think it does. And I think that mine is this: a morbid longing for the picturesque at all costs."

Sure, the dialogues get neurotic, and the Romantic façade sometimes cracks when the main characters start talking like normal humans, and the drug references was a bit too much. But I was completely seduced by the reverie invoked - sometimes shimmery and pale, and at other times resembling the nightmares invoked by sleep paralysis. However, I could understand why this book was so polarising. Readers who prefer their reading to be less flowery and romantic are well advised not to touch this one. ( )
  georgeybataille | Jun 1, 2021 |
I found this book lurking unread among my boxed-up library during a recent move across State. I read page 1 rather than shelving it and was hooked. Erudite, literary and intriguing. But it’s a big book and sometimes felt over long. Nevertheless, I kept picking it up again and immersing myself in its world of odd characters. Especially the somewhat hopeless and frustrating protagonist, whose voice tells the story. It’s a straightforward and predictable plot, and not a pretty story, but satisfying to the last word. ( )
  PhilipJHunt | Apr 18, 2021 |
Way too long for the topic. Could have cut 200 pages out and had a more intriguing story. ( )
  andsoitgoes | Mar 22, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 432 (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 (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tartt, Donnaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
de Wilde, BarbaraDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kidd, ChipDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Landolfi, IdolinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lange, Barbara deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Larsen, IdaLouTranslatorsecondary 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.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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 forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.

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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...
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140167773, 0141037695

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