The Secret History by Donna Tartt

STATUS:  Should have put down

I’ve had this book since doing classical civilisation at sixth form.  It’s travelled with me from there to uni and to each bookshelf since.  I wanted to relish reading this tale of a group of eccentric, American college students that commit a murder while under a Bacchic trance.  So, I saved it and saved it.  I’ll admit, I did forget to take it on a few holidays.  However, I finally made the time for the most anticipated read of my life thus far.  It was not worth it.  Maybe I had built it up too much?  Maybe Donna Tartt’s classic couldn’t hope to climb to the top of pedestal I had placed it upon?  Not only was this tale an utter disappointment, it was also incredibly, unfathomably tedious.  Getting through the stodgy, stuffy writing was a complete drudge and what should have been a most exciting, dark and nail-biting plot turned out to be entirely lifeless, spiritless and dull.  The centre piece to the story, the murder while having a rip-roaring Bacchanal, happened off-stage like all of the thrilling bits of Greek tragedy.  But, unlike ancient Greek tragedy, our messenger was not enthralling and captivating; he did not tell an extraordinary account with fervour and expression.  No, he told it in the most irksome, mundane and monotonous way possible.  This made the length of this epic let-down interminable.  Perhaps I am too plebeian to appreciate this novel.  If I am, I am now sure I would find the company of those that raved about The Secret History as a modern classic really quite vexatious.  Surely I cannot be the only one of the millions who have bought this book to be so thoroughly disenchanted with it?

1 out of 5

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