Author(s): Donna Tartt
Donna Tartt's The Secret Historyis the original American campus novel. When Richard Papen joins an elite group of clever misfits at his New England college, it seems he can finally become the person he wants to be. But the moral boundaries he will cross with his new friends - and the deaths they are responsible for - will change all of their lives forever. The Secret Historyrecounts the terrible price we pay for mistakes made on the dark journey to adulthood.
The Secret History was my reward for completing my 2015 reading challenge, and what a reward it was! Richard, tired of pre-med, his soulless parents and their dusty, faded existence in California, applies, and is accepted at a small but prestigious liberal arts college in rural Vermont. Once there, he makes friends with the five other Ancient Greek students who, along with their enigmatic professor, eventually welcome Richard into their mysterious clique. Or at least, they allow him to watch from the edges. So, he isn't there the night Henry, Francis, Charles and Camilla accidentally kill a local farmer during an attempt to recreate a Grecian orgy, but neither is the obstreperous Bunny, the fifth member of their group, who proceeds to make life so difficult they have little option but to kill him too. Bunny's murder takes place in the first chapter, and we spend the rest of the book exploring the ins and outs, the whys and hows surrounding his death. People who have read and enjoyed The Goldfinch will see parallels between the two books - Tartt does write repugnant characters so well - but this is a step above The Goldfinch. In fact it may be several. - Lucy
"It takes my breath away". --Ruth Rendell
"Enthralling ... image the plot of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment crossed with the story of Euripides' Bacchae set against the backdrop of Bret Easton Ellis' The Rules of Attraction... forceful, cerebral and impeccably controlled... ferociously well-paced... remarkably powerful". --The New York Times