The Secret History
Published by Vintage on April 13th 2004
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Barnes & Noble, Buy at The Book Depository
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 they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last - inexorably - into evil.
I delved into The Secret History with high expectations, perhaps too high, and was sorely disappointed.
I should have taken a cue from my boredom with Tartt’s The Goldfinch and understood that the author’s writing style does not vary from book to book. As with The Goldfinch, The Secret History is filled with description and dialogue, but with little plot advancement or character development.
I found myself growing tired of the story after the first chapter, anxious for some excitement. That desired excitement never came to fruition.
I anticipated learning a lot while reading Tartt’s debut novel. The story centers around a secretive group of a handful of studiers of Greek under the tutelage of a single teacher.
Instead of exploring ancient undertones, the tale seems to revolve around the main college-age characters imbibing in alcohol and cigarettes and having dinner parties.
“Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it.” To its credit, The Secret History does have some beautiful quotes, but I’ve learned my lesson to stop reading Donna Tartt’s work, unfortunately.