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10 thoughts on “The Secret History

  1. chai ♡ chai ♡ says:

    flings myself onto a chaise lounge and wails dramatically The fact that I’m not a part of an elitist circle of young scholars who uote Classics over dirty Martinis and toast to living forever and who might also be compelled to commit murder because they got too consumed by their Greek homework is the real tragedy here What’s this book about? Murder always makes an auspicious beginning for any good storyBunny is dead and his friends’ mercenary relief at having him gone didn’t take long before it turned sour In The Secret History the venom of remembrance falls to Richard Papen and the bulk of the book concerns itself with the months leading up to that point “This is the story I will ever be able to tell” says Richard and with that the still depths of memory come shivering back to lifeIn the days after Richard Papen sets foot at Hampden College he is aimless as unsteady as a poorly made bow suffering a deep pang of loneliness and dejection But then all of a sudden at the center of it all in a pocket of stillness within the simmering nest of his life was them A cliue of rich and sophisticated classic majors who drift about with their heads full of myths always at least half lost in some ancient story and who worship at the shrine of their highly eccentric professor Julian Morrow The closeness between them was palpable and something about that struck Richard with a deep allure They weren’t exactly unfriendly with the rest of the world; they were just friendlier with each other and Richard spared no efforts in impressing on them that he could fit in as well To that end Richard changed everything even the fabric of himself—adorning embroidering essentially reinventing the less glamorous aspects of his life He was like a ghost interposing himself between lovers to feel what it was like to be alive and that so much death would dog his heels soon afterwards is a brutal ironyAs in any group there is tension of course but it never grew very heated between them Neither did it ever uite abate It was the tension of minds meeting of differing interests not the tension of a world about to become terribly complicated ending in tragedy six souls forfeit A world where murder and lies and treachery were nothing but a currency they used to pay for the rest of their lives Let God consume us devour us unstring our bones Then spit us out reborn


  2. Rebecca Rebecca says:

    This novel like so many other first novels is full of everything that the author wants to show off about herself Like a freshman who annoys everyone with her overbearing sense of importance and unfathomable potential Donna Tartt wrote this book as though the world couldn't wait to read about all of the bottled up personal beliefs literary references and colorfully apt metaphors that she had been storing up since the age of 17The most fundamentally unlikable thing about this book is that all of the characters each and every one of them are snobby greedy amoral pretentious melodramatic and selfish The six main characters are all students at a small and apparently somewhat undemanding college in Vermont studying ancient Greek with a professor who's so stereotypically gay as to be a homosexual version of a black face pantomime In between bouts of translating Greek the students end up murdering two people and then devolve into incoherent drunken boring decay The best thing I can euate this book to is the experience of listening to someone else's dream or listening to a very drunk friend ramble on and on and on revealing a little too much awkward personal information in the process The climax of The Secret History's narrative was around page 200 but the book was 500 pages long So essentially this book contained 300 pages of scenes where the characters do nothing but drink alcohol smoke cigarettes go to the hospital for drinking so much alcohol and smoking so many cigarettes get pulled over for drunk driving talk about alcohol and cigarettes do cocaine and gossip about each other while drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettesTartt's writing was sometimes genuinely good at establishing a thrilling and suspenseful mood but other times especially toward the end her writing became the kind of self conscious contrived empty prose that I can imagine someone writing just to fill out a page until a good idea comes to them kind of like how joggers will jog in place while waiting for a traffic light That kind of writing practice is fineas long as the editor is smart enough to cut it before the final copy The last 300 pages were the authorial euivalent of that kind of jogging while going nowhere and it soured the whole book for meIn the book's attempt to comment on the privilege self interest and academic snobbery of rich college kids in New England the book itself comes to be just as self absorbed and obsessive as its characters it turns into a constant litany of unnecessary conversations sexual tensions that go nowhere purple prose descriptions of the landscape contrived plot twists that fizzle out and forced overblown metaphors The confusing part was that Tartt seemed to identify with and expect us to identify with these students not to admire them for murdering people obviously but to respect and envy their precious contempt for everything modern and popular as though they lived on a higher plane than normal people The cliche of academic types being remote from the mundane world and out of touch with reality may have a grain of truth to it but Tartt took that cliche way too far The story is set in the early 90s and yet some of the characters had never heard of ATMs and they still wrote with fountain pens drove stick shift cars cultivated roses in their backyards wore suits and ties to class and said things like I say old man Did I mention that this story is set in the early 90s? It got to the point where all the anachronisms came to seem ridiculous and gratuitous Ostensibly the point of the novel was to critiue the point of view that privileged academics are somehow superior to the average person but Tartt seemed too enad of her own characters and the endearing way they held cigarettes between their fingers to really allow that kind of critiue to be successful Maybe Tartt's second novel managed to get away from the claustrophobic selfishness of The Secret History but I don't feel up to reading it after this


  3. Maggie Stiefvater Maggie Stiefvater says:

    Five Things About The Secret History This is going to be a difficult book for me to talk about I finished it days ago but I find myself a little verklempt I’ll admit It’s been a long time since a book has stuck with me so completely as this one and I say that having had a uite remarkable year for memorable reading So the summary is straightforward and completely unhelpful a Californian boy arrives at a private New England college where he falls in with a bunch of snooty but delightful Classics majors who happen to have accidentally killed someone during a Bacchian rite they just happened to be conducting in their spare time That is a totally truthful depiction of some of the events in the book but it is not what the book is ABOUT I will do my best to convince you to pick it up in other ways Without further ado here are five things about THE SECRET HISTORY1 This is not a new book All of your friends have already read it You probably already have a copy of it actually that you picked up at some point in the last decade and now it molders in a box in your master bedroom closet the one that you never unpacked last time you moved Right next to your college alarm clock and two boxes of 9 volt batteries and that shirt you can’t throw out because it was a gift The reason why I’m pointing out that it’s not a new book is because since reading it I’ve been told by several people that it is their Favorite Book Ever It is one thing for you to read a book six months before and maintain it as a Favorite Book It is something remarkable when a book can elicit a passionate response from readers twenty years after its publication 2 This book is full of terrible people Pretty much the lot of the people that our narrator Richard meets are awful in some way Self centered or elitist or potheads or sociopathic or just people with really loud voices in uiet places Even Richard is not exactly a great guy But the magic of this novel is that somehow you find these terrible people deeply sympathetic I need to go back and reread it to understand this strange enchantment How do I find them so charming? Why do I want them to like Richard? GIVE ME YOUR SECRETS BOOK3 This is not a whodunit You are told pretty much the Bad Thing That Happens in the prologue and you can see it coming like a comet for much of the book The effect of this however is to create a lovely unbearable tension and anticipation And when the moment comes — in a line that involves ferns — it is so deliciously awful I actually exhaled gloriously and put the book down for a moment because I was so delighted by the actual pay off 4 It’s long It’s over 200000 words long I think and 600 pages in my edition It took me five days to read it And it’s not just long it’s dense One of the blurbs on the inside of the jacket said that it read like a 19th century novel and I don’t think that’s at all unearned It takes its time developing atmosphere and character uirks and some of the days in the novel take dozens of pages to unfold It is not a novel to speed through It’s a novel to get stuck in I put it down when I got too tired when I felt like I was starting to skim 5 WHAT ELSE CAN I SAY? I adore the characters so much I adore the hint —the breath — of the supernatural I adore the slow building tension and the sense that I as a reader was being skillfully manipulated Yes that That last one I think that is what I love the most about this novel I get the idea that Donna Tartt was completely in control of this novel Everything is measured and deliberate and just perfectly done and I trust her entirely Fifty pages in I knew that she was going to tell me a story I was going to enjoy even if I had no idea what it was going to be Man I just am going to flail about some Go read it


  4. Melanie Melanie says:

    “Beauty is terror Whatever we call beautiful we uiver before it” I have never read anything like this book in my entire life I laid in bed for over an hour last night upon finishing this book just tossing and turning and thinking about everything I just consumed I still don’t think I can put my feelings into words but I can honestly say this book was a cathartic experience for me and the irony of the word “catharsis” being a Greek rooted word is not lost on me because if this book is anything it’s a modern day Greek tragedy The Secret History is told in a uniue style which is a man reminiscing on some significant events that took place in his college life a bit over a year ago So we follow a younger version of Richard who is finally starting his life away from his abusive and poor family in California He gets accepted into an elite college in Vermont and moves across the county in hopes of a fresh start Upon arriving to the college Richard is denied entry into an Ancient Greek course because the professor that teaches it only allows enrollment to his small handpicked group of students that seem almost cult like Needless to say Richard becomes utterly obsessed with the five students in this group and the professor Julian Morrow himself And with a turn of good luck and by solving a Greek problem Richard is accepted into this exclusive groupYet in the prologue we find out that Richard and four others from the group murdered one of the other students who they are supposed to have a very close friendship with The Secret History is then told in two parts one being the events that took place leading up to the death of their fellow classmate and then one part being all the events that take place after he is murdered Bunny is the poor soul that is unfortunately murdered by his peers yet he’s a racist bigot and you’ll be kind of happy he’s dead for the most part Richard as stated in all the paragraphs above is the narrator looking back on the events that took place Henry is my personal favorite but perhaps the worst of the bunch Or maybe the best I’m not really sure but that’s truly the beauty of this story Twins Charles and Camilla Charles is a bad alcoholic and drug user and Camilla steals most people’s heart andor affection And lastly we have Francis who owns a country home that is the stage for many events that take place in this book Oh and everyone but Richard has money even though Richard tries his damnedest to keep that a secret “What we did was terrible but still I don't think any of us were bad exactly; chalk it up to weakness on my part hubris on Henry’s too much Greek prose composition – whatever you like” All the characters are morally grey to just generally horrible people but you completely ignore it because Donna Tartt weaves this hypnotic spell with her writing that you feel like you are reading this book in a dream like lull The Secret History is unlike anything I’ve ever read before and I’m not sure I’ll ever read anything uite like it again I also want to touch upon sexuality in this book because a lot of the members in this group are not straight in the slightest Like maybe the only ones that were completely straight were Bunny and Camilla I’m not saying that the ueerness in this book is vilified but it’s for sure not shown in the best of lights So please use caution while going into thisAnd this book is so very heavy in general so please use caution while reading ContentTrigger warnings for slut shaming use of the R word homophobia hate speech fatphobic comments racist comments animal cruelty sexual assault incest performing rituals suicide alcoholism drug abuse and murderI know this review is probably not one of my best and I know I’m being super vague about all these big themes but this book is just on a whole other level Maybe this book is about five new adults dealing with the conseuences of murder in a very human and realistic way Maybe it’s about how we are all just trying to fit in and find family by whatever unhealthy means available andor possible Maybe this book is about birth and death and how important the time between those two points truly is But I do believe with my whole heart that this book would best be experienced blind and to just go in and feel all the feelings that Donna Tartt will serve youWhile finishing the book me and Paloma had a discussion about the ending and how Greek heroes’ tales normally go We talked about how murder taints everything and how blood is the only thing that can purify it We talked about how wearing masks is so important yet death is another mask that we will all eventually wear God I’m being so cryptic but if you’ve read the book maybe this paragraph will mean something to you because it means the world to me Overall I know I sound like a broken record but this was one of the most uniue reading experiences of my life I honest to God just do not have the words to put in this review how this book made me feel I will say that it very much feels like a spell is being cast upon you while reading Like I am almost positive that Donna Tartt cannot be a human being because she is such an exclusive enigma Also I think I’ve developed a huge crush on her so there’s that at least I can say very confidently that I will remember this book and the feelings it gave me while reading for the rest of my life “Beauty is rarely soft or consolatory uite the contrary Genuine beauty is always uite alarming” Blog | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Youtube | Twitch Buddy read with Paloma ❤


  5. Martine Martine says:

    The first paragraph of The Secret History roughly sums up the mood of the book In it the narrator Richard Papen says that he thinks his fatal flaw is 'a morbid longing for the picturesue at all costs' If you can relate to these words chances are you'll love The Secret History If not you'll probably wonder what the fuss is all about Personally I can totally relate to these words so I love the book I've read it over half a dozen times and while I do think it has its problems I never fail to find it utterly gripping The Secret History is both an intellectual novel of ideas and a murder mystery without the whodunnit element The reader learns right on the first page that Richard and his friends have killed one among their midst The rest of the book goes on to explain how they came to their gruesome deed and what happened to them afterwards Against all odds it makes for compelling reading despite the fact that you know right from the start who the killers are Such is the power of Tartt's writing that you find yourself turning page after page waiting for answers justifications and possibly a sign of remorse Once these have been dealt with the book loses a bit of its power but until that time it's near perfectDonna Tartt's great gift as a writer is her magnificent talent for description Her evocation of life at a small private university in New England with its oddball mix of ivory tower intellectuals and ditzy cokeheads is rich in detail both shocking and funny If it's not entirely realistic she makes it so Likewise her skill at characterisation is superb While Richard is not entirely convincing as a male narrator a fact I find noticeable every time I re read the book he and his friends make up a fascinating cast of characters six aloof self absorbed and arrogant intellectuals who are obsessed with ancient Greece and don't particularly care for modern life They're snobs and they have major issues but somehow that only makes them alluring Together they form the ultimate inner circle the kind of tight knit group you know should always stay together Which makes it almost understandable that they should be willing to kill anyone who might jeopardise that group dynamic incomprehensible though this may seem to the average readerI can think of many reasons why The Secret History strikes such a chord with me For one thing I have a thing for timeless and ethereal stories and this is one of those Somehow the book has a dreamlike almost hypnotic uality despite it being very firmly set in the rather unromantic 1980s I love that For another thing I have always been drawn to the unabashedly intellectual and this book has that in spades It makes geekdom alluring and I just love Tartt for that I wish I were as geeky as HenryUltimately what I think I respond to most in The Secret History is the friendship aspect The Secret History is very much a book about friendship It's about the very human yearning to belong and be accepted by people we admire It's about the sacrifices we make to keep friendships intact the insecurity we feel when we think we might not be completely accepted by our friends after all and the paranoia we experience when it seems our friends may have betrayed us About the feeling of invincibility we get from having great friends and the melancholy and loneliness that follow the disintegration of a once great friendship The book basically reads like an elegy on a great friendship and one doesn't necessarily have to share Richard's intellectual attitude towards life his morality or even his morbid longing for the picturesue to be able to relate to that It's enough to have yearned for close friendship and been insecure in friendship And let's face it who hasn't?I do not think The Secret History is a perfect book As I said I find Richard somewhat unconvincing as a male character; there is too much about him that screams 'female author' to me Further the ending is decidedly weak although to be fair I have no idea how else Tartt could have finished her book The story does seem to be inexorably heading in that particular direction Insofar as the ending reflects the disintegration that is going on in the characters' lives it could probably be said to be appropriate Still I wish Tartt could have come up with something on a par with the rest of the book If she had this would have been a six star book I don't know many of those


  6. jessica jessica says:

    ‘beauty is rarely soft or consolatory uite the contrary genuine beauty is always uite alarming’ and oh how alarmingly beautiful this story is as all the best greek tragedies tend to be; full of sorrow and struggle but often accompanied by pure loyalty and divine inspiration gosh i just i cant even right now on the surface this book is great but donna tartt is an absolute goddess of writing for the sheer depth of this book its a work of absolute brilliance i was never a classics student but as someone who has taken an interest in the subject over the years i cant even express my geeky joy for how multifaceted and layered this story is by exemplifying fatal flaws dissecting the apollonian vs dionysian philosophical theory personalising the mask of death understanding the action and stagnation of life and realising the lifelong uest for the picturesue this story is a modern greek tragedy and a classic in its own right wow i will be thinking about this book for uite some time↠ 45 stars


  7. Paquita Maria Sanchez Paquita Maria Sanchez says:

    First of all if you are one of those people who dismiss a book as inherently bad simply because you just couldn't relaaa yeeete to aunnny of the charaaactaaaars gum smack smack smack then do not read this book If you can relate to anyone in this novel then I dismiss you as inherently bad In fact I fucking hate you Yes you because my guess is that as a modern day example of all the characters in this novel you probably have a goodreads account and read nothing but tome suh and write snide condescending long winded comments and boring as a brochure reviews jerking off whatever dense novelist or philosopher had previously caught the fancy of whatever other dense novelist or philosopher you had previously jerked off You blindly unuestioningly and completely assume the opinions of the few people on planet Earth who you so happen to think are by some random blip in the universe smarter than you Oh and remember when we went on that date when I was in Austin and it was the worst night of my life? You just wanted to hear yourself talk and you acted so astonished to have some wittle woman laughing at your prefab philosophical wankery? Coffee house intellectuals here is your mirror Now shuddupWhat a pressure cooker This is a 500 that you read like a 200 pager and watching Donna Tartt unspin her spool is really a delight damn you mean it's an enjoyable novel?? Pass Basically I don't want to give too much away but a bunch of insufferable Classics students get swept up in an Ancient Greek religious ceremony which results in some very real entanglements with both the law and icky human nature Gosh I really can't say much else without dowsing you in the spoilies and I don't want to be an asshole Like every single character in this story I truly cannot stress that enoughThe best aspect of the novel for me was witnessing the aftermath of an untimely death One of the main reasons I despise facebook at this point in my life is witnessing the carnage that ensues when someone passes away All that misplaced emotional exhibitionism Tartt really nails it when she's discussing the ricocheting effect that the death of our just godawfully full of shit character Bunny has on his campus All those melodramatic boo hoos like everybody in the entire city knew him oh so well I've watched this happen several times and it kinda makes me sick in my gut parts and embarrassed for everyone forever It's one thing to mourn but it's uite another to leach on other peoples' misery and milk it for attention or just something to do and the death of a young person just really brings that out in people And man Tartt pins it down here And it's gross and awkward like it doThis is not a spoiler unless you consider something mentioned in literally the first sentence of the prologue to be a spoilerOh the narrator you ask? Yeah he's an asshole too Don't seek comfort there because he's basically nothing than a lie factory wallpapered in tweed In fact it's really pretty rare to come across so many awful people in a single novel unless you're reading say Wuthering Heights If there is even one slightly endurable character in the novel it is Camilla and she just sort of flitters in and out of scenes apparition esue nigh unreadable almost like one of Jeffrey Euginedes' virgins And she spends all her time with these windbags soI don't know what else to say Murder mystery Late 80's early 90's private college setting Prep school intellectual snoots with lossa monies Shiny prose Fast pace woven out of not too much actual plot Good shit all aroundThanks are once again in order to goodreader Janice for spoiling me with wonderful free things And she gave me not one but two Donna Tartt novels Thanks Janice Did I review better this time? No? Well there's still hope I may revisit this and essplain myself better than my I woke up at noon and haven't had coffee yet self is able but every time I say that it ends up just being an empty promise Almost as empty as the characters in this novel And you if you are the sort of person who relates to the characters in this novel Let me restate how much I hate you


  8. emma emma says:

    read my recollections of my time in the classics department at a college in New England full review of this book here is the problem with reviewing every book I read Sometimes I throw around terms before I really need them and then once I read THE book The Story that reuires and deserves that descriptor I have nothing to give itRight now I have this problem Because I have used the word “immersive” before and immediately upon my completion of this book it became clear that I should have saved it for right nowI felt like I lived inside these pages I felt like I began to think in the beautiful and sharp prose that fills them I felt like I knew the characters ate decadent lunches and walked the snowy campus and whispered with them I felt an aching emptiness a genuine longing when I read the final wordsI miss living hereThis was very very slow to the point that about halfway through I said inexplicably aloud “I don’t know what they’ll even do for the rest of the book” and yet I was gripped by itIt’s genuinely masterfulI love Richard and I LOVE Camilla and I love Francis and I fine okay at least like Charles and Henry and even Bunny and JulianAnd I miss them allThis is an incredible work but maybe the most incredible thing is how the reader is Richard I too miss my bygone days at my prestigious New England college with my whip smart group of eccentric friends and like him I am too uickly forced to realize the fallacy of such a feelingAfter all it was all a fictionBottom line I’m raising this to a five star rating you'll have to excuse me i'd love to actually write something here but my brain is broken and i am incapable of thoughtalso seems absurd to try to use words when donna tartt took all the good onesreview to come 45 stars me is slightly behind on my reading challengealso me starts a 600 page book


  9. Paul Bryant Paul Bryant says:

    Apparently the New York Times described The Secret History as PowerfulEnthrallingA ferociously well paced entertainment and Time said A smart craftsman like viscerally compelling novelVery funny guys ha ha and all that They're such jolly jokesters They'll have you believing anything The Secret History is complete tripe no that's harsh let me put it another way it's COMPLETE TRIPE oh dear this keyboard has a mind of its own and is very firm about its opinions too but this book is also the literary euivalent of novocaine and it's just so cozySPACE FOR GIF OF COZY CUTEY KITTY Oooh Donna Just another bowl of bananas and custard and a whopping plateful of classical references and allusions; and a murder And ladle on all the upper class schmooze for us You knowwwwww what I like Tickle my tootsies and call me something LatinoooohThis book puts you in the kind of trance where you don't mind that The Secret History is mercilessly ripped off from Brideshead Revisited Well I didn't mind at all because I hadn't read Brideshead Revisited then which I suspect most of young Donna's readers hadn't either and I further suspect the reviewers of The New York Times and Time hadn't Or they'd have run her out of town on a rail if that still happens I haven't seen it done for years Oh Donna oh Donna how does that old song go?I once had a girl or should I say she once had meThree stars though Sometimes it's fun to be fooled


  10. chan ☆ chan ☆ says:

    lol why is this on my tbr and why yall keep liking it


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The Secret History ❴PDF / Epub❵ ☉ The Secret History Author Donna Tartt – Thomashillier.co.uk 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 humd 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 they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and The Secret Epub / betrayal and at last inexorably into evil.

  • Paperback
  • 559 pages
  • The Secret History
  • Donna Tartt
  • English
  • 15 September 2014
  • 9781400031702

About the Author: Donna Tartt

Donna Tartt is an American writer who received critical acclaim for her first two novels The Secret History and The Little Friend which have been translated into thirty languages Tartt was the winner of the WH Smith Literary Award for The Little Friend Her novel The Goldfinch won the Pulitzer Prize in The daughter of The Secret Epub / Don and Taylor Tartt she was born in Greenwood Mississippi but r.