For Bret Easton Ellis, whose generosity will never cease to warm my heart...
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
'A haunting, compelling and brilliant piece of fiction' The Times
'So irresistible and seductive it's almost a guilty pleasure' The Guardian
Books cited as 'modern classics' often come with so many pre-conceived ideas that as a reader you're bogged down in expectation before the first chapter is through. Luckily, with The Secret History, this is all thrown out of the dormitory window as you're drawn into a world in which sharp captivating prose, clever structure and characterisation reminds just why you love reading great fiction.
"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"
The Secret History is an East coast collegiate novel based around a tight social circle of privileged and monied under-graduates studying Classics. Enter Richard, whose small town working class background is instantly at odds with the friends he makes in this elite Ivy League elysium. Richard is initially both attracted and intrigued by the characters in the group from gregarious Bunny to effeminate Francis and kooky twins Charles and Camilla.
Before long Richard is drawn into a world in which college life blends with greek tragedy and ultimately into a dangerous Dionysian drama...
This time, I thought, a year ago. What had I been doing? Driving a friend's car up to San Francisco, standing around in the poetry sections of bookstores worrying about my application to Hampden. And now here I was, sitting in a cold room in strange clothes and wondering if I might go to prison.
Not only is the novel exceptionally well written but the characters are as intriguing and well drawn as you'll find in a modern piece of literature. This is a novel to read and enjoy and then re-read and love. If there is a book that can grow old with you then this is it.
Pick up in a second hand bookstore for a flavour, between the torn cover and dog eared pages, of your copy's very own secret history.