The Secret History

If my friend Rob hadn’t mentioned the author, Donna Tart,  I wouldn’t have known her or read her books. One interesting fact that Rob mentioned was she writes a book in every ten years, the first one (and also the first that I read) was ‘ The Secret History‘. Set in New England, in an elite college, the book tells about six students and one of them, Richard Papen, is the narrator of the story. His role as the observer in this story reminds me so much of Nick Carraway in ‘The Great Gatsby’.

The story starts with one of the six students’ death. Bunny. The others had killed him and after the prologue the story went backward to the day Richard decided to go to New England, ran away from his unhappy life in California. He found himself a scholarship to this elite college in the other side of his world.  He had chosen biology but then he changed his mind and studied Classics and determined to continue his study of Ancient Greeks, where he met the charismatic professor, Julian Morrow, and his five students. Bunny, Henry, the twins Camilla and Charles, and Francis.

Before he was in the group (and he really wanted to be in their little elite group), he kept imagining how exciting it would be. And even after he got in, he still tried hard to be accepted. For me, it was really interesting to see how each characters revealed (or at least from Richard’s point of view) to their truly selves. I guess they are always like that, but it took Richard time and incidents to see who they really were.

As the story went, unfolding each events that lead to Bunny’s dead, I kept turning every pages and asked ‘why? how? when?’ and then, “will they ever get caught? how did they live with it?’. I have never seen this book in our local bookstores (Rob brought his from the UK) and this was written 20 years ago, so I was glad I could get my hands on it. I think to lend someone a really good book to read is the nicest thing a friend can do to another.

At the moment, I’m reading her second book, ‘The Little Friend’. I’ll write what I think about it soon.

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