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The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History (original 1992; edition 2004)

by Donna Tartt

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13,339370165 (4.07)648
Title:The Secret History
Authors:Donna Tartt
Info:Vintage (2004), Paperback, 576 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Secret History by Donna Tartt (1992)

Recently added byLauranthalas, Eileen9, private library, 500books, bryanblake, emmacee, mandarella, natcontrary
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» See also 648 mentions

English (343)  Dutch (9)  Swedish (6)  French (5)  Italian (3)  Portuguese (1)  Spanish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All (369)
Showing 1-5 of 343 (next | show all)
This is an outstanding read. It's not, as I sometimes describe literary fiction, about people and feelings. But neither is it about actions. To begin class, the classics professor says, "Are you ready to leave the phenomenal world, to enter into the sublime?" While things most definitely happen in this story, the heart of the book is less in the actions and more in the experience of being a part of those actions. The narrator is a witness, a participant, and most importantly the lens through which we catch a glimpse of the lived/living experience of the story. ( )
  hopeevey | May 20, 2018 |
This book I had purchased ages ago because the story caught my eye. Finally read it this week because best friend told me it was one of her favorite books of all times. Just finished it today and I have to say I'm brokenhearted it had to end. One of the most engaging reads I have read, the characters all reach out for you in countless ways: you identify with a couple, hate things in others that make you look twice at yourself and fall in love with some in an obsessive way. This story is about a group of friends, intellectual, extravagant, arrogant and extremely unique friends who end up sharing more than just a friendship. Now, this is no ordinary friendship, mind you; nor are these ordinary people. If I tell you more about the plot, I would be giving away the book's esence; but I can tell you that you will find all elements of The Dark Triad personality scheme right here: narcissism, Machiavellian and psychopathy mixed up with Greek tragedies, drugs and alcohol. What more can you ask for? Absolutely brilliant! ( )
  AleAleta | May 7, 2018 |
I have mixed feelings on this one, but have decided to give it 4 stars primarily for the writing.

The book centers around a very small/elite group of students studying Greek at a rural New England college. From the very first page, we know that one of these students was killed, and by whom. What we don't know is why.

The secrets to this murder are slowly revealed to us through the point of view of another student, Richard, as he is accepted into the group and sucked into their strange world.

I was definitely gripped by this novel, particularly in the beginning. The problem was that I pretty much grew to hate all the characters, and I'm not sure that was the author's intent. They are each so snobby, callous and selfish that after awhile I almost stopped caring what happened to them. Not one of them shows genuine regret or emotion over the grave crime(s) they've committed, other than anxiety over their secret potentially being revealed. One of the characters does spiral downward into alcoholism, but that is seemingly more from stress than remorse. The book is so dark and disturbing that I think I found this lack of emotion all the more unsettling.

This aside, however, there is no doubt the book is a page turner; I finished it in just four days. There is something to be said of a book of this size that manages to keep your full attention despite your dislike of all the characters. Worth reading just for the suspense of it all. ( )
  Brightraven | Apr 26, 2018 |
It's trash, of course. But irresistible. Still, better when it's ripping off Brideshead Revisited and The Magus than being Rules of Attraction Highsmith. ( )
  grebmops | Apr 9, 2018 |
This was my first time reading the book, nd even though I loved the suspense that Tartt built up in her book, I felt the ending was rather anti-climactic. Instead of the grand finale I was hoping for, the story seemed to almost peter out. I think it calls for some investigation and a reread, because I doubt the ending was meant to disappoint considering how well-constructed the rest of the narrative was. ( )
  oOArankaOo | Apr 2, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 343 (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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Come then, and let us pass a leisure hour in storytelling, and our story shall be the education of our heroes.
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.
Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen
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?
...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)

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 12 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140167773, 0141037695

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