The secret history – Donna Tartt

IMG_20140910_013215Not a whodunit but a whydunit

but even so a pageturner, a study in building and maintaining tension.

The narrator, Richard Papen, tells the story about his time in a small elite college in Vermont. He is drawn to a small clique of 5 classics students,  who take most of their classes from an eccentric,  charming professor,  Julian Morrow, obsessed with Greek culture and history. And so are the students to the extent that they – with disastrous consequences –  try to recreate a bacchanal. Richard confesses the murder of one within their group already in the beginning of the book, but the rest of the story is told sequentially. Most of all the novel resembles a Greek tragedy with fate dictating the events leading up to the murder and the destructive impact it has on the group, both academically and socially.

The secret history from 1992 was Donna Tartt’s debut novel. She has since then only written two more novels.

I read a lovely review by John Mullan for The Guardian, and I couldn’t resist borrowing some of it!

Ten reasons why we love Donna Tartt’s The Secret History

1. It starts with a murder.

2. It in love with ancient Greece.

3. It has all the best elements of the campus novel.

4. It has a classic lonely narrator.

5. It is full of quotations.

6. It has a charismatic master of ceremonies.

7. It is obsessed with beauty.

8. It believes in fate.

9. It is possessed by Dionysos.

10. It lets you in on secrets.

 

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