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Monday, December 8, 2014

The Secret History - A Book Review

The Secret HistoryThe Secret History by Donna Tartt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this inverted detective story we follow Richard Papen, a California transplant, as he lands in Vermont and settles into Hampden College. Richard wants to study Ancient Greek, but he must convince the eccentric professor Julian Morrow to allow him to study under him. Morrow accepts him with the condition that Richard drop most of his classes to exclusively study with him. He joins a small group of others already under Morrow's study, twins Charles and Camilla, Francis, Henry, and Bunny.

This is no secret, but the book explores the reason and story behind Bunny's murder. Donna Tart does a wonderful job with this story. There is so much going on between the characters before Richard become involved with the group. She explores their dark secrets from incest, alcoholism, controlling nature, homosexuality, and murder. It also looks at the relationships, trust, fear, and allegiances between them as Richard integrates in the group. I like how someone else explained this story, it's not really a who done it, but a why done it.

This is not necessarily the happiest thing I've read, but that doesn't matter. It reads like a Greek tragedy and didn't disappoint, it was beautifully written. I hope to read some of her other works, including the The Gold Finch soon.

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