The Secret History

Thoughts tshbydtndt The Secret History by Donna Tartt, Penguin 1992, Audiobook, 22’9″

Narrated by the author.

For RIP X.

My second book by this author. The 52nd book of the year.

DNF’d. (I got to about half way through. I am counting this as a book anyway.)

What’s it ABOUT: Five students enrolled in an exclusive Greeks program of a small liberal arts college decide that one of them must die. It’s not arbitrary – I would have voted to kill him, too, most likely. Maybe. He did get extremely irritating.

The fact of the murder is not a secret from the first page; this book is all in the slow unveiling and feelings (dread?) of why and how and probably the aftermath head-games but I gave up when it was taking too long to get to the dastardly deed.

I am thinking I sound incredibly heartless here. Oh well. IT’s FICTION, PEOPLE!

I couldn’t help but picture Holly Hunter while listening to this. Tartt sounds just like Hunter in Raising Arizona.

A few days after I decided I didn’t have the patience for 10 more hours of Donna describing every little thing and not getting on with the action parts, I read a list of what is required to make a book “Southern Gothic” Someone somewhere asked Ms. Tartt how she managed to make The Secret History a Southern Gothic, but she denied it by saying, “No it’s not; it’s set in Vermont.” LOL

Really now, I just got impatient and wasn’t quite sure if I would encounter anything new in the book – it was just. TOO. long. I’m sure I would have been much more inclined to read it if I had every studied Greek. OR a good book to read on a semester break or long weekend and definitely NOT the first weeks of September when the rush of school start and the TOO-MANY-THINGS to do of real life causes distraction stress.

RATING:  Three slices of pie.

Pie – chapter 8, “Henry ordered an enormous dinner: pea soup, roast beef, a salad, mashed potatoes with gravy, coffee, pie and ate it silently and with a great amount of methodical relish.”


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17 thoughts on “The Secret History

  1. I just read this last weekend and loved it — but I can see how the audio might drag. And there were a lot of descriptions of food. But what kind of pie did Henry eat at the diner?

  2. I started this one a long time ago and never finished. I didn’t give it very many pages though. I just got bored with it or excited about other books. Can’t remember which. You seem to be doing a lot of reading though. Even with this DNF.

    1. Nothing gets me reading like having more important priorities that should be my focus. I swear I had The Secret History and The Historian and some other classic but not quite related book title always ALWAYS confused. Now I only need to tackle The Historian. (That other one might have been the History of Love which is still a top 5 book of favorites.)

  3. Ohmigosh, YES. I did this one on audiobook, too, and just could not stand it. I think I gave up with several hours to go, too, and switched to the paperback, but by then it was too late. I was just annoyed with everyone in the story, and I didn’t really care if all of them jumped/fell off a cliff.

  4. Yep, I don’t think it’d be a good book for audio. Better to read in physical copy, like so many books that have a lot of description. I hope if you do try it again you find it to be as excellent as I ASSURE YOU it is. It’s one of my all-time favorites, and when I get through my jury duty next month, my prize will be rereading it after a few years away. ❤

  5. Pingback: H is for Hawk | Care's Online Book Club

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