The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History

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 betrayal, and at last - inexorably - into evil.


Details The Secret History

TitleThe Secret History
ISBN9781400031702
Author
Release DateApr 13th, 2004
PublisherVintage
LanguageEnglish
GenreFiction, Mystery, Contemporary
Rating

Reviews The Secret History

  • Chaima ✨ شيماء
    2019-03-01
    [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 quote 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. “After all, the appeal to stop being yourself, even for a little while, is very great.  To escape the cognitive mode of e...
  • Rebecca
    2008-09-13
    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 17.The most funda...
  • Maggie Stiefvater
    2012-07-15
    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 quite remarkable year for memorable reading. So, the summary is straightforward and completely unhelpful: a Californian boy arrives at a private New England college whe...
  • Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
    2019-03-09
    (3.5) I've been telling myself I need more time to think about this book but here we are a month later and I still don't know what to do.This was described to me as "a murder mystery with a bunch of pretentious college students" and while it's pretty accurate it's so much more than that.The writing was beautiful character driven and atmospheric book but I struggled to connect with the characters and the overall story.I can see how it could be on ...
  • Martine
    2008-02-24
    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 picturesque 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,...
  • Melanie
    2017-12-29
    “Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver 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 G...
  • Paquita Maria Sanchez
    2013-08-08
    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 goodrea...
  • jessica
    2019-04-20
    ‘beauty is rarely soft or consolatory. quite the contrary. genuine beauty is always quite 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...
  • Paul Bryant
    2007-11-18
    Apparently the New York Times described The Secret History as "Powerful...Enthralling...A ferociously well-paced entertainment" and Time said "A smart, craftsman-like, viscerally compelling novel."Very 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 ...
  • ✨ jamieson ✨
    2017-02-09
    "A month or two before, I would have been appalled at the idea of any murder at all. But that Sunday afternoon, as I actually stood watching one, it seemed the easiest thing in the world." this book starts and it's like: hello bitches, welcome to murder club. Here is Bunny, he is dead, he got murdered. strap the fuck in.This book is actually not funny at all. It's about murder, lots of it. In the first page we find out a group of friends killed o...
  • Whitney Atkinson
    2018-08-21
    TW/ drug abuse, alcoholism, suicide ideation & attempts, incestI can’t believe I didn’t read this book sooner. It is one of my new favorites of all time, and certainly of the year. The melancholy tone of this is absolutely my jam. This type of narration with a passive, wallflower main character caught up in this life of glamour and being an outsider somehow permitted to the inside is one that never grows old to me.This book’s imagery was so...
  • Eliza
    2017-09-29
    2019The fact that I STILL think about this book every other week really makes me to want to label this as my #1 favorite book. It's literally the best thing I have read up until this point. What a mind-blowing novel.________________________________________Re-read in 2018Still flipping amazing. I. Love. This. Book.________________________________________5/5 Stars!EDIT: I read this about two months ago, but I'm still thinking about it! Therefore, I...
  • Jamie
    2007-09-04
    Okay, this book. This book was a lot of fun, partially, I think, because it was written in this fashion which made determining whether this was past, present or future virtually impossible. It was very romantically written and I tend to go for that sort of thing: simple meals of tomato soup and skim milk, five college-aged students who drink tea as well as burbon, scotch and on occasion whiskey--but not with anything as muddled and middle-class a...
  • Arah-Lynda
    2012-06-21
    And after we stood whispering in the underbrush – one last look at the body and a last look round, no dropped keys, lost glasses, everybody got everything? – and then started single file through the woods, I took one glance back through the saplings that leapt to close the path behind me. Though I remember the walk back and the first lonely flakes of snow that came drifting through the pines, remember piling gratefully into the car and starti...
  • Annet
    2008-05-17
    One of my all time favorites. It's been a while since I read it, have to reread it soon. Great story, very intelligent, very fascinating, keeps you going on and on page by page until the end. Remember reading it on a camping trip in Canada! Simply brilliant. Top ten best reads ever.
  • Joe Hill
    2007-09-25
    Someone just brought up Nietzsche’s Apollonian vs. Dionysian theory, which is described at the link below, if you are as unfamiliar as I was. http://www.geocities.com/danielmacrya...Apparently Donna Tartt was well-versed in this theme, as it is prevalent in The Secret History. The gist of Nietzsche’s theory is that the ancient Greeks attained such a high level of culture mainly due to their personal struggle between the opposing philosophies ...
  • Sam
    2017-06-19
    I understand why The Secret History is loathed as much as it is loved. If I remove myself a bit from what I just read, I note implausible dialogue and somewhat unbelievable plot elements, horrifically selfish and nasty main characters, overflowing with evil, sure, but mostly with ennui and snobbery and drunkenness and poor-little-rich-people and an air of erudition that's more smokescreen than substance.I can admit to all of that objectively. Sub...
  • Adina
    2017-07-21
    DNF at 70% “If you love one book by a certain author it does not automatically mean you will enjoy all the author’s work” (Me, while reading The Secret History) .Before I begin my review I have to inform you that Goldfinch is one of my favorite novels. If you want, you can see my short review here. Based on that fact, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind of how much I love Donna Tartt’s writing. I thought it was perfect in the firs...
  • Helene Jeppesen
    2014-10-25
    This is such an amazing book that combines crime and Greek language and mythology with Donna Tartt's beautiful writing style. It is a story about guilt, admiration and repercussions and it blew me away. I also gave "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt 5 stars, but these 5 stars are a little bit different. The story in itself was very interesting, but it did have its dull moments. BUT the mood that Donna Tartt succeeds in creating and the relationship w...
  • Abby
    2007-10-10
    The Secret History by Donna Tartt is like drinking the scotch the characters drink in the book: smooth, sweet, smoky and scalding. You keep drinking, having no idea how drunk your getting. Then you try to stand up and the world falls out from under your feet. The Secret History captured me from the first page with the introduction of the narrator, Richard, and his memories of Hampden College in Vermont. He falls in with a group of "Intellectuals"...
  • Dan Schwent
    2014-12-23
    When Richard Papen joins an exclusive group of Classics students, he has no idea of the secret world of drugs, alcohol, and violence he's about to be thrust into. When one of the students winds up dead, can the rest cope or destroy themselves?Yeah, it sounds like the crime books I usually read but it's a whole lot deeper than that. This is one of those Big Important Books, full of things like themes and literary references. Like Jim Thompson gett...
  • Zweegas
    2007-07-08
    Okay, so let me see if I understand what's going on in this book: These college kids accidentally murder someone while participating in some ancient ritual which involves some form of alternate consciousness. Then, they're shockingly ho-hum about the entire thing because after all it was just some random farmhand or something who just accidentally happened to be around. They never ever discuss this murder. They don't even really feel bad about it...
  • destini mia
    2015-02-24
    “I suppose at one time in my life I might have had any number of stories, but now there is no other. This is the only story I will ever be able to tell.” I'm still in limbo after finishing this book. Honestly, I don't know what I was expecting from The Secret History. This is one of those books were you finish the last page, put it down, and don't know what to do with yourself. But walking through it all was one thing; walking away, unfort...
  • Barry Pierce
    2014-12-27
    Due to my utter adoration for The Goldfinch I decided, for reasons unbeknownst to even myself, that I should give The Secret History another go. See I read it maybe four years ago, I want to say, and I wasn’t the biggest fan. And ever since then I’ve had people constantly telling me just how wrong I was about The Secret History. ‘No, no, it’s a modern classic!’ they’d say to me. Or, ‘wow it seems exactly like the type of book you’...
  • ☙ percy ❧
    2014-07-31
    ok real talk i didn't know what tf Classics was until i read this and then i thought "hey this is canny interesting" so i signed up for a classics summer school at oxford and it turned out half the people there also ended up there bc of this mcfucking book and then the professors were all like "this is a better turn out than usual" and we were all just sitting there trying to pretend that we didn't end up there because of a book about a Classics ...
  • Samadrita
    2013-07-23
    UPDATE 18/02/2014:-Given how often I think of this book and the conspicuous prickle at the back of my neck every time I remember the characters and their cold complicity in one ignoble act after another, I guess it won't be an exaggeration to state that the memories of reading this book are more potent than the experience of actually reading it was. I am not disowning my earlier review but I believe the only way to be fair to Donna Tartt will be ...
  • Robin
    2017-02-13
    A classical story becomes twisted in modern times How much do I love and admire Donna Tartt? (This is a rhetorical question; I love and admire her very, very, very much.)I read this compulsively, single-mindedly, with the pure joy of reading sparked by the same excitement I remember having when reading The Goldfinch. She may have focussed on dark subject matter, she may have penned a story filled to the brim with selfish, unimpressed, spoiled bra...
  • mathilde maire
    2013-03-02
    i think the fact that i've just read 600 pages in a day is indication enough that this book is everything to me
  • Alex
    2013-09-01
    Shortly after starting this book I Wikipedia'd Donna Tartt, to see if I was dealing with some sort of reverse George Eliot; I had been under the impression that only men got as smugly pretentious as Tartt does. But no, she's a real lady! Ask Bret Easton Ellis, whom she was banging at U. Miss while in a grad writing course that also included Jonathan Lethem and Jill Eisenstadt, so that is a whopping lot of talent in one course, and also Bret Easto...
  • mark monday
    2011-02-18
    The Secret History is about as convincing as Less Than Zero. how has this book stayed so popular? well, Less Than Zero also remains popular. i'll take lev grossman's The Magicians over both of them, and that one is aggravating too. (1) i'm so tired of people who are so tired of everything! (1b) ennui is so very boring, almost as boring as (2) pretentious know-it-alls. this book manages to combine all three. i learned nothing except a new way to b...