Tag Archives: the secret history

WBN 53: The Secret History

I’m steadily working my way through the nation’s 100 favourite books according to World Book Night’s poll in 2011. Find out more about this challenge and check my progress here.

This has been sat on my shelf for months – perhaps years – but for some reason I’ve never quite been in the mood to pick it up. I knew little about it, and have never had anyone recommend it to me, so it came as a surprise that it was so gripping and so readable. Tartt takes a basic thriller type plotline and deftly snips away at it, turning it completely on its head. In the opening pages we read of a murder: we know who is killed, by whom, and where. What we don’t know is why, or what happens next, which is what the novel addresses.

This is one of the most immersive books I’ve read in some time; even when at work or running errands I found the characters and the events running through my mind, trying to work out what was going to happen next. The elitist group of classics students at the centre of this scandal are intriguing characters, and despite the bizarre, dangerous path they travel, their actions remain believable and interesting.

Pick this up if you’d like to try a thriller with a healthy dose of intellect and a hard streak of psychological drama.

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