The Secret History

( 129 )

Overview

The first novel by Donna Tartt, author of  the National Bestseller The Goldfinch, The Secret History is a contemporary classic.

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 ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$9.22
BN.com price
(Save 42%)$16.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (35) from $3.50   
  • New (19) from $8.79   
  • Used (16) from $3.50   
The Secret History

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$8.59
BN.com price
(Save 28%)$11.99 List Price
Marketplace
BN.com

All Available Formats & Editions

Overview

The first novel by Donna Tartt, author of  the National Bestseller The Goldfinch, The Secret History is a contemporary classic.

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.

An impressive debut novel from a new voice in fiction, The Secret History tells of a small circle of friends at an esteemed college in New England, whose studies in Classical Greek lead them to odd rituals, shocking behavior--and murder.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The Secret History succeeds magnificently. . . . A remarkably powerful novel [and] a ferociously well-paced entertainment. . . . Forceful, cerebral, and impeccably controlled.” —The New York Times

“An accomplished psychological thriller. . . . Absolutely chilling. . . . Tartt has a stunning command of the lyrical.” —The Village Voice

“Beautifully written, suspenseful from start to finish.” —Vogue

“A haunting, compelling, and brilliant piece of fiction. . . . Packed with literary allusion and told with a sophistication and texture that owes much more to the nineteenth century than to the twentieth.” —The Times (London)

“Her writing bewitches us. . . . The Secret History is a wonderfully beguiling book, a journey backward to the fierce and heady friendships of our school days, when all of us believed in our power to conjure up divinity and to be forgiven any sin.” —The Philadephia Inquirer

“Enthralling. . . . A remarkably powerful novel [and] a ferociously wll-paced entertainment. . . . Forceful, cerebral, and impeccably controlled.” —The New York Times Book Review

“A huge, mesmerizing, galloping read, pleasurably devoured. . . . .Gorgeously written, relentlessly erudite.” –Vanity Fair

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
. Entertaining, evocative first novel; 12 weeks on PW 's bestseller list. Oct.
Library Journal
This well-written first novel attempts to be several things: a psychological suspense thriller, a satire of collegiate mores and popular culture, and a philosophical bildungsroman. Supposedly brilliant students at a posh Vermont school Bennington in thin disguise are involved in two murders, one supposedly accidental and one deliberate. The book's many allusions, both literary and classical the students are all classics majors studying with a professor described as both a genius and a deity fail to provide the deeper resonance of such works as Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose . Ultimately, it works best as a psychological thriller. Expect prepublication hype to generate interest in this book and buy accordingly. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/92.-- Charles Michaud, Turner Free Lib., Randolph, Mass.
New York Times
“Powerful . . . Enthralling . . . A ferociously well-paced entertainment.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400031702
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/13/2004
  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 131
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Donna Tartt

Donna Tartt was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, and is a graduate of Bennington College. She is also the author of the novels The Goldfinch and The Little Friend, both of which are international bestsellers.

Biography

Donna Tartt excels at turning places of ordinary privilege into places tinged by anxiety and death. In her first novel, The Secret History, a small liberal arts college in New England becomes the playground for a dangerous, elite clique of scholars; in her next novel, The Little Friend, Mother’s Day in a small Mississippi town serves as the backdrop for the discovery of a nine-year-old boy’s hanging.

Though she has written several short stories and essays for magazines such as Harper’s and the Oxford American, little has been seen of Tartt since the publicity blitz that accompanied The Secret History’s publication in 1992. The book became a bestseller, and critics were reservedly enthusiastic.

Tartt had taken on a lot in The Secret History. It was partly a thriller, partly a critique of academe, and was densely packed with literary references from both classical Greek and contemporary literature. Some thought Tartt had bitten off more than she could chew, but she still earned praise for her sheer thematic ambition and her ability to create atmosphere and a driving pace. Ultimately, the book was enough to establish the Mississippi writer as a talent worth watching, and to inspire a handful of devotional web sites that dutifully enumerated her few-and-far-between publications.

The Tartt short stories that have since appeared in magazines show a glimpse of the talent that wowed professors at University of Mississippi – a Christmas pageant goes criminally awry, a former child star goes on what he considers a doomed visit to a hospitalized child – and her essays further reveal her skewed perspective. Finally, in 2002 and a decade after the debut that made her a sensation, Tartt published The Little Friend. The premise, a 12-year-old girl’s effort to avenge the murder of her older brother, shows that Tartt has not shied away from her exploration of the darknesses that lie underneath seemingly harmless facades.

Good To Know

Tartt's classmates at Bennington College included the writers Bret Easton Ellis and Jill Eisenstadt. It was Ellis who introduced Tartt to his agent, Amanda "Binky" Urban; and it was Urban who started a bidding war for The Secret History that scored Tartt a reported $450,000 advance.

Southern writer Willie Morris was a mentor for Tartt at University of Mississippi, where she spent her freshman year. Morris, who had read some stories of Tartt’s, introduced himself and told her, “I think you’re a genius.” He got her enrolled in a graduate writing seminar, and later encouraged her to transfer to Bennington.

Drawing on their college days, when Tartt would hold alcoholic "teas" in her dorm room, Ellis called his classmate "the only person I know who could drink me under the table" in a 1992 Vanity Fair article. Perhaps Tartt's stamina had something to do with her early "medicine" for the frequent illnesses caused by tonsils that were overdue for removal. Presiding as her nurse, Tartt's great-grandfather gave her regular doses of whiskey and cough syrup containing codeine. "Between the fever and the whiskey and the codeine," wrote Tartt in a Harper's essay, "I spent nearly two years of my childhood submerged in a pretty powerfully altered state of consciousness."

Signed first editions of The Secret History now run around $100.

Film rights to The Secret History were sold to director Alan Pakula; but Pakula died in 1998, and the project languished until Gwyneth Paltrow expressed interest. The film is now reportedly in production at Miramax under the actress, with Paltrow's brother Jake set to direct.

Tartt on the delay between books, to the BBC: "I can't write quickly. If I could write a book a year and maintain the same quality I'd be happy. I'd love to write a book a year but I don't think I'd have any fans.”

Read More Show Less
    1. Also Known As:
      Donna Louise Tartt (birth name)
      Donna Louise Tartt (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 23, 1963
    2. Place of Birth:
      Greenwood, Mississippi
    1. Education:
      Attended University of Mississippi; B.A., Bennington College, 1986

Reading Group Guide

1. Richard states that he ended up at Hampden College by a “trick of fate.” What do you think of this statement? Do you believe in fate?

2. When discussing Bacchae and the Dionysiac ritual with his students Julian states, “We don’t like to admit it, but the idea of losing control is one that fascinates controlled people such as ourselves more than almost anything. All truly civilized people—the ancients no less than us—have civilized themselves through the willful repression of the old, animal self” (p. 38). What is your opinion of this theory? Are we all attracted to that which is forbidden? Do we all secretly wish we could let ourselves go and act on our animal instincts? Is it true that “beauty is terror”?

3. “I suppose there is a certain crucial interval in everyone’s life when character is fixed forever: for me, it was that first fall term spent at Hampden” (p. 80). Did you have such a crucial interval in your life? What/when was it?

4. In the idyllic beginning it is easy to see why Richard is drawn to the group of Greek scholars. It is only after they begin to unravel that we see the sinister side of each of the characters. Do you think any one of the characters possesses true evil? Is there such a thing as true evil, or is there something redeeming in everyone’s character?

5. In the beginning of the novel, Bunny’s behavior is at times endearing and at others maddening. What was your initial opinion of Bunny? Does it change as the story develops?

6. At times Bunny, with his selfish behavior, seems devoid of a conscience, yet he is the most disturbed by the murder of the farmer. Is he more upset because he was left out of the group or because he feels what happened is wrong?

7. Henry says to Richard, “My life, for the most part, has been very stale and colorless. Dead, I mean. The world has always been an empty place to me. I was incapable of enjoying even the simplest things. I felt dead in everything I did. . . . But then it changed . . . The night I killed that man” (p. 463). How does Henry’s reaction compare to that of the others involved in the murder(s)? Do you believe he feels remorse for what he has done?

8. Discuss the significance of the scene in which Henry wipes his muddy hand across his shirt after throwing dirt onto Bunny’s coffin at the funeral (p. 395).

9. List some of the signs that foreshadowed the dark turn of events. Would you have seen all the signs that Richard initially misses? Or do you believe Richard knew all along and just refused to see the truth?

10. Would you have stuck by the group after learning their dark secret?

11. The author states that many people didn’t sympathize with Richard. Did you find him a sympathetic character?

12. What do you make of Richard’s unrequited love for Camilla? Do you feel that she loved him in return? Or did she use his love for her as a tool to manipulate him?

13. Do you feel the others used Richard as a pawn? If so, how?

14. What do you feel is the significance of Julian’s toast “Live forever” (p. 86)?

15. The author mentions a quote supposedly made by George Orwell regarding Julian: “Upon meeting Julian Morrow, one has the impression that he is a man of extraordinary sympathy and warmth. But what you call his ‘Asiatic Serenity’ is, I think, a mask for great coldness” (p. 480). What is your opinion of Julian?

16. Do you think that Julian feels he is somewhat responsible for the murder of Bunny? Is that why he doesn’t turn the group in when he discovers the truth from Bunny’s letter?

17. What causes Julian to flee? Is it because of disappointment in his young protegees or in himself?

18. While the inner circle of characters (Richard, Charles, Camilla, Henry, Francis, and the ill-fated Bunny) are the center of this tale, those on the periphery are equally important in their own ways (Judy Poovey, Cloke Rayburn, Marion, and so on). Discuss the roles of these characters.

19. The rights for The Secret History were initially purchased by director/producer/screenwriter Alan J. Paluka (All The President’s
Men, The Pelican Brief), and they are currently with director Scott Hicks (Shine, Snow Falling on Cedars). What are your feelings about making the novel into a movie? Who would play the main characters if you were to cast it?

20. What is the meaning of Richard’s final dream?

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 129 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(75)

4 Star

(28)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(7)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 129 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2001

    An Outstanding Literary Work

    What makes 'The Secret History' such a compelling book is its daring to examine the consequences of the arrogance of intellectual superiority, something I struggled with in my youth, something which I sometimes find myself struggling with today. Those of us who were products of accelerated academic programs, who fell under the auspicious acronmym AP (for Advanced Placement) often felt removed from our peers and masked our underlying feelings of inferiority as erudite superiority. It is a defence mechanism many of us used when young,and sometimes continue to use as a means we tell ourselves of making us feel better about who we are. The students in TSH, even the sympathetic narrator Richard Papen, exemplify these ideas and the impulses these feelings cause them to act out are shown as having the direst of moral consequences to which they as a group and individually must answer for. The pleasures of intellectual stimulation coupled with the psychological underpinings of the deed done and how it is played out give TSH its literary resonance. In addition the book provides a builti in mystery of its own--namely the literary future, or if there is to be one, of its author, Donna Tartt. Upon a first reading nearly ten years ago, I embraced TSH and Donna Tartt as a voice I wanted to hear more of--a voice which has been noticeably and mysteriously silent, which has only served to build up the legend, and rumors of an impending second novel sometime next year. This remains to be seen but TSH continues to remain a book I turn to time and again for its exploration of moral arrogance and the destruction such attitudes can incur.

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 8, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A great read for those who love to explore the human psyche

    Richard Papen grew up in Plano, CA; a small silicon village in the north. An only child, he was extremely unhappy there¿his father ran a gas station, and his mother had to join the work force to make ends meet. After high school, Richard went to a small college in his hometown¿against his parents wishes¿and studied ancient Greek on his way to a pre-med curriculum. <BR/><BR/>He excelled in Greek, not so in biology and science classes. One night during a long Thanksgiving Holiday, he finds in his room a brochure from Hampden College, Hampden, Vermont, established in 1895.<BR/><BR/>For the hell of it he applies and is accepted after getting a huge package of financial aid. <BR/><BR/>So he gets on a bus and arrives in Vermont. <BR/><BR/>As he tries to pursue his Greek studies, he encountered a roadblock¿the Greek professor: Julian Morrow, who only takes a few students.<BR/><BR/>He out of curiosity decided to find and study these particular students. Two of the boys wore glasses, curiously enough the same kind: tiny, old fashioned, with round steel rims. The larger of the two, well over six feet, was dark haired, wore English suits and carried an umbrella¿unusual for Hampden¿his name was Henry Winter. The smaller of the two, was a sloppy blond boy, rosy cheeked and gum chewing. He was Bunny Corcoran¿short for Edmund¿and he wore the same jacket everyday and had a voice that was loud and honking.<BR/><BR/>The third boy was the most exotic of them all. Angular and elegant, precariously thin, with nervous hands and a shrewd albino face with a short fiery mop reddish hair. Francis Abernathy was his name.<BR/><BR/>The last two turned to be twins¿they looked much alike, with heavy dark blond hair and epicene faces as clear, as cheerful and grave, as a couple of Flemish Angels. Their names were Charles and Camilla Macaulay.<BR/><BR/>Richard, overhearing an assignment by the group in the library, is able to solve a Greek problem, so he is invited to join the group.<BR/><BR/>As it turns out, Julian Morrow is, like Aristotle, a complete education teacher. Richard is forced to quit all his classes, except French and Julian will teach him all of his curriculum for the year.<BR/><BR/>The book is short on plot¿as a matter of fact, the plot is given away in the two page introduction. The group kills Bunny Corcoran.<BR/><BR/>But what it lacks in plot, is overwhelmed by character development. Donna Tartt is able to get inside these people¿s heads to a point where we feel we are there with them. We know what they do, what they think, why they drink; what they like and dislike about each one of them¿and how they interact as a group, which will explain why they did what they did.<BR/><BR/>These are confessions, years afterwards of a young man who found at a small Vermont college the life of privilege and intellect he¿d long coveted¿and rarely has the glorious experience of youth infatuated with knowledge and with itself so achingly realized. <BR/><BR/>Hugely ambitious and compulsive readable, this is a chronicle of deception and complicity, of Dionysian abandon, of innocence corrupted by self love and moral arrogance; and finally this is a story of guilt and responsibility.<BR/><BR/>A great read for those who love to explore the human psyche.

    10 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2004

    Standout Fiction

    THE SECRET HISTORY is that rarity published in recent years, a mainstream novel that deals with murder but not the usual ho-hum mystery formula. I was drawn into Richard Papen's slide into the small clique of classics students majoring in Greek, improbably taking no other courses but French in a small Vermont private college. Never fitting in other settings, Richard seems a perfect fit here, though his blue-collar background contrasts to the wealthy background of the other five. The coin is fluency in Greek, and the group considers themselves set apart by their intellectual superiority. Though one member is far from an intellectual, and his position becomes increasingly precarious after a mysterious killing of a local farmer prods him to blackmail and snipe at the others he is sure killed the man. Richard is the observer, who becomes an accessory to murder, under the spell of the group's leader, who is determined to conceal their crimes at all costs. Mesmerized by the leader's rationalization that the first killing was an accident--or was it?-- Richard goes along with the plan for a second murder, drifting with the others from the first in a haze of constant heavy drinking combined with drugs taken as a matter of course. While college students --at least some of them--certainly did drugs in the Eighties and probably still do, every character major or minor in the book is stoned and recklessly drunk on top of that. No one dies of this, a miracle; and such bright students in the Greek major seem to be drunk or on their way much of the time--not terribly intellectual, though bright people often drink to excess at times. Not even Richard can work up actual horror at news of the first killing, or resistance to the plan to cover up by killing the second victim, chiefly because said victim's needling gets more and more annoying. Yet this reader, usually repelled by conscienceless characters, was unable to put the book down, wanting to know if they will get away with it, wanting to know what Richard--who hasn't actually committed either murder--will do in the end or if he will end up in prison for his complicity in abetting and concealing the crimes. The alarmingly plausible leader's essential evil is slowly and skillfully revealed by the author, who turned out a literate and vivid work of prose in THE SECRET HISTORY. The end had one small flaw, hard to understand the leader's action in the climax. It didn't seem in character. But the book was haunting and involving, and I'll look for more of Donna Tartt's work.

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2002

    A Reader from Minneapolis

    Much ado about nothing. Competent writer but this book doesn't imho live up to the hype.

    7 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 29, 2011

    For those who want to root for the heroine but hope they get hit in the end!

    Sex, Murder, and Mystery, rich spoiled college kids take life for granted and ends up screwing it all up. Everyone has had that loathing at some point when you just wish that reality will slap someone in the face that really deserved it. Well here's your chance! Donna Tartt shows us the lives of Henry, Francis, Richard, Charles, Camilla, and Bunny and with such finesse describes the life in a Vermont college for these spoiled snobs. But wait...the characters tend to come to life thanks to Tartt's writing and we really hope that things work out for them in the end, but part of us just wants to drop an anvil on their heads! The descriptions that Tartt provides are incredible to say the least and the period of winter helplessness that Richard experiences chills you to the bone. "This was, I should say, about the third week in January. The thermometer was droping; my life, which before had been only solitary and miserable, became unbearable. Every day, in a daze, I walked to and from work, sometimes during weather that was ten or twenty below, sometimes during storms so heavy that all I could see was white, and the only way I made it home at all was by keeping close to the guard rail on the side if the road. Once home, I wrapped myself in my dirty blankets and fell on the floor like a dead man. All my moments were not consumed with efforts to escape the cold were absorbed with morbid Poe-like fancies. One night, in a dream, I saw my own corpse, hair stiff with ice and eyes wide open." I actually had to dress warmer while reading his experience in a cold dark apartment. Throughout the book you know Richard will witness some shocking discovery of what is really happening, and thanks to Tartt again this isn't just dropped on us suddenly. She rather slowly reveals each secret such subtleness that it builds to the climax in a way that you feel for these characters even though they are such selfish snobs. This is one of my favorite reads this year and will reside on my shelf for years to come.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2011

    Quite literally one of my favorite novels ever

    I read it 3 years ago and im back looking it up hoping to find some clues to another, similar book. I have found some people seem to not like it and that baffles me. Great mystery, suspense. I was genuinely sad it was finished when it was over.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 25, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    What a disappointment

    This book had such buzz, frankly I thought it was just awful.
    Not one character did I like, the story was dull, the writing was stifling.

    4 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2011

    Awesome!

    Donna Tartt is a very gifted story teller. This book will amuse you, shock you, stimey you, and anger you. A real page turner. I highly reccommend it.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2013

    Recommended for characters & style

    A really tense mystery; well-defined characters. You want to reach out and implore them to stop. Intelligence and narcissism and exclusivity and wealth and bored youth are a dangerous mix.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2012

    An enigmatic, entrancing read

    The Secret History is an enigmatic blend of psychological thrills, an astoundingly complex, but realistic plot, and a rich vocabulary not often found in this day and age, wrapped in the wonder of Greek poetry and language. Upon my arrival of Julian's study room, I was instantly transported into a world shrouded in mystery. One characterized by dimly-lit lamps and persian rugs. By whispered betrayals behind callous-free hands and the eloquent discussions of one well-versed in the philosophies of the ancient world. Reading Tartt's work of literature was a quite enjoyable experience as she merged a world long gone with the one presently existing. She showed us beauty by kissing death. Showed us horror through fascination. She took all the elements of loathing, passion, revenge, morality, enlightenment, and unthinkable acts and mixed them around and around until you can no longer discern one from the other. Until you see that beauty and terror are one and the same. Not only does Tartt expertley portray this, but she does so with her uncanny ability to bring her characters to life, so that they might walk off the page at any given moment. If I was to summarize the plot right at this very moment, you would wonder at the sanity of the characters. However, should you read this literature in its entirety, you should find yourself just as confused and scared as the murderers themselves. I should like to reiterate one last time the beauty of the language used. I feel that much of our language today has been greatly reduced and watered down from, say, Shakespeare's age. A time when the crafting of words was regarded as an art form. With this novel, I believe Tartt was able to recapture some of that beauty that so many of our more recent novels have been missing. I truly loved this novel and find it completley worthy of the accolades it has recieved. This is not a light read, but if you're willing to endure a few late nights and a few hours lost sleep, I promise this is a book you won't want to put down.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2014

    If you loved "The Goldfinch", you will like this...

    Another--and her first--thrilling story you cannot put down! And yes, a lot of ingredients are similar: an immature young man with incompetent parents, interesting bad friends, a distinguished older mentor, lots of drugs, love, betrayal, suspense, tragedy, unthinkable actions...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Sophisticated, smart, and suspenseful

    This complex novel is slow-moving at times, but it is very rewarding. If you like this book, check out Carol Goodman's Lake of Dead Languages. Follow me on twitter!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2014

    My God, she loves to hear herself talk!

    Im glad she is smart. Im glad she knows big words. Yeah, she knows Greek history. My word, she wont shut up about it. The only person that will like this book is the kind that leaves reviews the length of novels so they can show their "superior" knowledge. If you are snotty person with an over inflated ego, this book is for you. So sorry I wasted my money!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2014

    No one told me this was meant to be a classic. My friend gave it

    No one told me this was meant to be a classic. My friend gave it to me to read. She obviously thought I would be impressed because she knows I hate wasting time reading rubbish. I read the whole thing but thought  it was rubbish. Now, reading all these positive reviews, I assume its because of the lack of plot. Therefore its simply boring. Its a book you'll forget immediately and move on. Maybe it is well written. Maybe it does explore the human psyche. But so do millions of other books. This is just one of them. The great books all have good plots. Also, maybe the character development is good, but not nearly as good as someone like Dickens does it. Or maybe you've just got to be a pretentious nob to understand...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2014

    pretentious

    I resented spending time with these insufferable self absorbed miscreants

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2014

    Sunsetsky to lionroar

    It is true that youve been ignored for like ever but ive always been fond of you and i think that you shouldnt be ignored i promise that i wont ignore you again and im sorry if you feel ignored by other cats its their loss

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    Fascinating. Fascinating

    Beautiful writing. Fascinating characters. Riveting.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    If You Can Keep A Secret&hearts Chapter Five&hearts

    ((Sorry its been so long. My nook was being bi*chy. Anyway, next chapter at keep res one. This chapter contains a referenc to the fact that the Kingdom Hearts charachter Marluixa looks like a girl.))<p>When I wake up this time, I'm in a small, windowless room. It must be some old freezer or something because I feel like an iceberg. Literally. I walk around sluggishly, trying to find something, anything that might spell escape for me. Then panic begins to set in, because, the sluggishness means I'm in the beginning stages of hypothermia. I find the metal door & bang my fist on it in frustration. It dents like soft plastic & that's when I remember: my powers! I back up several steps & focus on the door. My eyes begin to glow & then fire shoots out of them. Soon, there is a me-sized hole in the door, edges brightly glowing. Sunlight & warmth pour in, restoring my energy.<p>I step out & come face to shocked face with Kadaj, Yazoo & Loz. But it is what else is in the room that causes me to do a double take. Surrounding the trio are about 40 Heartless, BIG ones. But that is only part of the reason. The other part is the three, no, four black-cloaked figures standing behind all those Heartless.<p>I gasp in shock. "Xigbar? Marluxia? Demyx? Saix?" I recover immeadiately & summon my Keyblade. "Oh look: Three boys & a girl!" They look puzzled. I smile devilishly. "Don't give me that look Marluxia. You know who you are." Kadaj looks at me incredulously. I dont think he's ever seen this side of me before. Like I care what side of me he sees. I sense someone behind me & then I hear Axel say, "You hit the nail on the head Zexia." 'It's Zheraa here.' I tell him mentally. "I mean Zheraa." He corrects himself. "I'll have to agee with you on that one." Reno adds, also from behind me. I smile, then turn around. "Axel! Reno! How nice of you to join us!" I say, my grin growing bigger. "And you seem to be getting along so well now!" I say with a hint of sarcasm. They both grin, their expresions unreadable. "I hate to ruin your little reunion," Xigbar pipes up, "but we're on a very important mission." "And what would that be?" Axel I ask simultaneously. Xigbar makes an annoyed face. "You think I'm gonna tell y—" Saix interrupts him. "Our mission is to find four people named Vincent, Cloud, Sephiroth & Reno & turn them into Heart—" His voice trails off as he recalls my greeting to Axel & Reno. He points at Reno & all the Heartless advance.<p>I jump in front & snap my fingers. Poof! Half the Heartless disappear. Saix frowns. "Oh are you gonna cry? Don't be such a bit.chy baby Saix." I snap. His frown deepens. Marluxia, still smarting from my attack on his gender, steps forward & snaps HIS fingers. Instantly, I am surrounded by a pink, flowery box & catapulted into the air. The box then begins shrink, slowly squeezing me to death. Soon it is a struggle just to breathe. I hear sounds of fighting.<p>Then, there is a short period of dead silence. And that's when I hear it. That voice has haunted my dreams for years, ever reminding me of the past, of the darkness. It can't be him. I have to be imagining it. But then I hear Axel say, "You!!! How did you get here?" The voice says something I can't hear. Suddenly Axel & Reno yell in unison, "No! No! Don't!" Next thing I know, the box has disappeared & I am plunging downwards towards an imminent & painful death.<p>((Okay. Hope you like it. Next chapter at keep res one))<p>&#9825KH&FFfan4ever&#9825

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2013

    Dull dull dull

    I got halfway through it and just had to quit reading. Frankly these reviews were misleading with 4.5 stars. I want my money back.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2012

    Very well written. Wortth reading.

    This is one of the best books I have read in quite some time. The characters were interesting and complex. The book starts out slow then unfolds into an interesting page turner.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 129 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)