I had heard good thing about this book – but upon picking it up off the shelf of a thrift store in Ogden, Utah, it was hard to know exactly what to think. Is it a Dan Brownesque escapade? A serial killer thriller set with the backdrop of Greek Classics? A simple murder master, perhaps?
It’s none of those things. It’s actually quite unique.
First off – it’s a terrible title. It’s both vague and irrelevant to the plot. But that’s my only real criticism. I just can’t help but think of millions of different and better titles.
The quotations on the introductory page give a hint. There is a dedication to Bret Easton Ellis (of American Psycho and Less Than Zero), followed by a quote from Nietzsche about young men studying the Classics and Plato’s Republic.
The Secret History is one part Bret Easton Ellis, one part Dostoyevsky and one part Hunter S. Thompson. And that’s a pretty awesome combination. It’s deeply informed by a deep knowledge of the Greek classics. Donna Tartt does great in both descriptive action, sublime description, and haunting, insightful description.
It’s not a predictable book; it’s doesn’t quite fit into any boxes you might try to put it in. It does ring true in many different aspects. The characters are vibrant and vivid. Certain relationships and characters – specifically the character of Camilla – I found to be extremely similar to my own college experience.
This is a brilliant book. The sort of book that we read for.