Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dislikabe Characters, Likable Book

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Adult Fiction

This was a strange read for me--meaning it wasn't like anything I've read before.  Usually, I stick pretty close to the genres I love like mystery, paranormal, history, etc.  But, when a friend recommended I check out Donna Tartt, I decided to start with this book.  While she doesn't write a huge amount of books, the books she writes are voluminous.  This one was almost 600 pages and it's one of those books where you don't look and see how much you have left.

The book focuses on two murders and six thrown-together friends at a wanna-be Ivy League college in Vermont.  The main character, Richard, has just joined a group majoring in Greek classics.  The group is bizarre by any standards and even Richard can't seem to quite figure out why he is mixed in with this lot.  What follows is a tale of college shenanigans, alcohol abuse, and finally two murders.  The murders are never a mystery, nor is this really a who-dun-it.  Rather, it's a what-are-we-gonna-do-now-we-dun-it? 

I would give this book a higher star based on the sheer masterful writing, but I so disliked some of the characters I just can't give it a 5-star rating.  The narrator, Richard, seemed to be confused by everything that happened to him and was willing to bob along aimlessly.  The other characters are train wrecks of abuse and privilege and I wasn't really sorry to see them get the justice they brought on themselves.  I totally just didn't get the whole classical Greek thing--and I'm an English major and lover of languages.  It all just seemed a bit arrogant and pretentious.   It was, though, a great introduction to Tartt and I can't wait to read another book by this American "Dickensian".

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