The Secret History

The Secret History

4.1 167
by Donna Tartt
     
 

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"Powerful...Enthrallling...A ferociously well-paced entertainment."
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Richard Papen arrived at Hampden College in New England and was quickly seduced by an elite group of five students, all Greek scholars, all worldly, self-assured, and, at first glance, all highly unapproachable. As Richard is drawn into their inner circle, he learns a… See more details below

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Overview

"Powerful...Enthrallling...A ferociously well-paced entertainment."
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Richard Papen arrived at Hampden College in New England and was quickly seduced by an elite group of five students, all Greek scholars, all worldly, self-assured, and, at 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....
"A smart, craftsman-like, viscerally compelling novel."
TIME
Selected by the Book-of-the-Month Club
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK

Editorial Reviews

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.
Donna Seaman
This is a first novel of exceptional subtlety and suspense, featuring a haunting cast of characters. Somewhat reminiscent of "Dead Poet's Society", a bit gothic, and inlaid with sophisticated psychology, it takes place on and around the campus of a small, private, Vermont liberal arts college. When Richard, a native of a small, dull California town, arrives at Hampden College to study Greek, he's startled by the changeability of the weather, the brooding skies, and brilliant autumn. Thoroughly alienated from his parents, he lies about his past, hoping to impress the tight-knit, wealthy, secretive, and tantalizingly eccentric group of classics scholars studying under the direction of influential mentor, Julian Morrow. Henry is tall, erudite, and frighteningly calculating. Francis is gay, sly, but affectionate. Bunny, an awful mooch but quite endearing, looks like Teddy Roosevelt and spouts a great deal of nonsense punctuated by exclamations of "old man" and "see here." Camilla and Charles are twins--cool, attractive, and charming. As Julian steeps his disciples in Greek thought, they become obsessed with an overwhelming desire to experience telestic madness, that is, Dionysiac frenzy. Their pursuit of this exalted, catastrophic state leads to conspiracy, subterfuge, murder, and suicide. Tartt's prose is flawless and enthralling: keyed-up, humming with detail, graced with nuance, and electric with the malevolence of self-righteous amorality and an insulated and heartless form of intelligence.
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

New York Times
“Powerful . . . Enthralling . . . A ferociously well-paced entertainment.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375434969
Publisher:
Random House, Incorporated
Publication date:
05/03/2005
Edition description:
Large print edition

What People are saying about this

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

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