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The Secret History

Donna Tartt


  • Paperback
    $20.25
PUBLISHED: 27th May 1993
ISBN: 9780140167771
ANNOTATION:
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 their lives are changed profoundly and for ever.
The Secret History
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  • Paperback
    $20.25
PUBLISHED: 27th May 1993
ISBN: 9780140167771
ANNOTATION:
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 their lives are changed profoundly and for ever.

Annotation

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 their lives are changed profoundly and for ever.

Publisher Description

Truly deserving of the accolade Modern Classic, Donna Tartt's novel is a remarkable achievement - both compelling and elegant, dramatic and playful. 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 their lives are changed profoundly and for ever.

Author Biography

Donna Tartt was educated at the University of Mississippi and Bennington College, and is the author of a second novel, The Little Friend. She lives in Mississippi and New York City.

Review

A haunting, compelling and brilliant piece of fiction The Times So irresistible and seductive it's almost a guilty pleasure Guardian Donna Tartt is an amazingly good writer. She's dense, she's allusive. She's a gorgeous storyteller -- Stephen King Takes my breath away -- Ruth Rendell Brilliant and compulsive Evening Standard A huge, mesmerizing, galloping read Vanity Fair A page-turner in the true sense Independent Brilliant Sunday Times

Kirkus UK Review

A thriller in the Daphne du Maurier vein, Tartt's debut novel charts the death of innocence among a group of over-privileged New England students. The narrator, Richard Papen, is easily seduced by the snobberies of the classics school at Hampden College, Vermont but - vainly - tries to hold firm against debauchery and murder. (Kirkus UK)

Kirkus US Review

The Brat Pack meets The Bacchae in this precious, way-too-long, and utterly unsuspenseful town-and-gown murder tale. A bunch of ever-so-mandarin college kids in a small Vermont school are the eager epigones of an aloof classics professor, and in their exclusivity and snobbishness and eagerness to please their teacher, they are moved to try to enact Dionysian frenzies in the woods. During the only one that actually comes off, a local farmer happens upon them - and they kill him. But the death isn't ruled a murder - and might never have been if one of the gang - a cadging sybarite named Bunny Corcoran - hadn't shown signs of cracking under the secret's weight. And so he too is dispatched. The narrator, a blank-slate Californian named Richard Pepen chronicles the coverup. But if you're thinking remorse-drama, conscience masque, or even semi-trashy who'll-break-first? page-turner, forget it: This is a straight gee-whiz, first-to-have-ever-noticed college novel - "Hampden College, as a body, was always strangely prone to hysteria. Whether from isolation, malice, or simple boredom, people there were far more credulous and excitable than educated people are generally thought to be, and this hermetic, overheated atmosphere made it a thriving black petri dish of melodrama and distortion." First-novelist Tartt goes muzzy when she has to describe human confrontations (the murder, or sex, or even the ping-ponging of fear), and is much more comfortable in transcribing aimless dorm-room paranoia or the TV shows that the malefactors anesthetize themselves with as fate ticks down. By telegraphing the murders, Tartt wants us to be continually horrified at these kids - while inviting us to semi-enjoy their manneristic fetishes and refined tastes. This ersatz-Fitzgerald mix of moralizing and mirror-looking (Jay McInerney shook and poured the shaker first) is very 80's - and in Tartt's strenuous version already seems dated, formulaic. Les Nerds du Mal - and about as deep (if not nearly as involving) as a TV movie. (Kirkus Reviews)

Prizes

Runner-up for The BBC Big Read Top 100 2003
Short-listed for BBC Big Read Top 100 2003

Product Details

Author
Donna Tartt
Pages
640
Publisher
Penguin Books Ltd
Year
1993
ISBN-10
0140167773
ISBN-13
9780140167771
Format
Paperback
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Media
Book
Edition
1st
Short Title
SECRET HIST
Series
Penguin Celebrations
Publication Date
1993-05-27