Secret sale sale History (LITERARY FICTIO) online

Secret sale sale History (LITERARY FICTIO) online

Secret sale sale History (LITERARY FICTIO) online
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A misfit at an exclusive New England college, Richard finds kindred spirits in the five eccentric students of his ancient Greek class. But his new friends have a horrific secret. When blackmail and violence threaten to blow their privileged lives apart, they drag Richard into the nightmare that engulfs them. And soon they enter a terrifying heart of darkness from which they may never return.

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4.3 out of 54.3 out of 5
8,431 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

LoJoSo
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Tedious and somewhat repulsive and confusing.
Reviewed in the United States on September 20, 2018
I will start by saying I loved The Goldfinch. Loved it. So, it was interesting to see how Tartt''s brilliant writing was shaped and honed during the intervening years. But that writing could not redeem such tedious and pretentious characters. None of them were genuinely... See more
I will start by saying I loved The Goldfinch. Loved it. So, it was interesting to see how Tartt''s brilliant writing was shaped and honed during the intervening years. But that writing could not redeem such tedious and pretentious characters. None of them were genuinely interesting, or remotely believable. I went to college during the years this seems to have been set, and almost none of it rang true. NO ONE wore fancy suits around campus, even for dramatic effect or as a pretentious affectation. And I went to a massive and diverse university. The characters run around in a drug and alcohol-soaked haze. Okay, that much rang true for the late 80s/early 90s, but they were way too functional for spending so much of their time so heavily inebriated. Richard says Bunny was well liked, but he was a ridiculous caricature, and his behavior was relentlessly boorish. How charming! I dunno... I just found it impossible to suspend my disbelief, because there was no payoff for doing so. And instead of being able to relax and enjoy Tartt''s fantastic gift for writing, I was constantly brought out of the story with thoughts of "this doesn''t sound like something that could have happened!" or "I hate these people and don''t care WTF happens to any of them!" I''d say skip this one. Just read The Goldfinch. It''s worth it.
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Thomas Moody
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
“…walking through it all was one thing; walking away, unfortunately, has proved to be quite another”
Reviewed in the United States on June 15, 2019
A superior and engaging work of paradigms…really a microcosm of the dispassionate elite. Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Donna Tartt offers up a unique look at a vastly disordered set of personal and moral values that become ensconced within a group of ill fitting, often... See more
A superior and engaging work of paradigms…really a microcosm of the dispassionate elite. Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Donna Tartt offers up a unique look at a vastly disordered set of personal and moral values that become ensconced within a group of ill fitting, often puerile and misanthropic students at a prestigious Vermont college. Forming and then further refining each character (we fundamentally have six main actors outside of our narrator) to the degree that each becomes his or her own immensely flawed persona, Tartt then furthers the narrative by weaving a masterful thriller, combining intellect with meritable readability, making “The Secret History” certainly worthy of inclusion into Amazon’s 100 Books To Read in a Lifetime.

Richard Papen, our narrator, is a sort of California expat, transferring to Vermont’s Hampden College from a small Northern California community college. Desperate to continue his studies in the Greek Classics, he reaches out to the only professor who teaches this curriculum at the college, one Julian Morrow, a wonderfully eccentric intellect who seemingly chooses his students with an odd personal/intellectual criteria and who then demands their complete and utter loyalty while assuming their entire syllabus and becoming their principal teacher.

Initially turned away after confronting Morrow, Papen nevertheless gets accepted into the course following an encounter with the group of students in the campus library one evening. This faction (their “leader” of sorts, Henry Winter, twins Charles and Camilla Macaulay, the loud and obnoxious Edmund Bunny Corcoran and the abstract Francis Abernathy) are noted for being rather standoffish on campus, almost socially outcast while also being looked upon as offbeat and peculiar. Fitting in immediately though, Papen finds himself initially mollified with his station at the college, being invited to lunches and dinners at the twin’s apartment and spending a good deal of time on long weekends at Francis’s Vermont country estate.

Soon though he witnesses the true inner workings of this group…secret conversations and side meetings are being convened most notably by Henry, which lead to one evening finding the group (minus Bunny and Richard) transformed somewhat “supernaturally” into a chemically induced awareness, attempting to achieve an ancient Greek “higher consciousness” state whereby anything becomes possible. Things, of course get out of hand and the balance of the book concerns the intrigue involved with this surprising and deviant outcome. Each character, seemingly already heavily developed, suddenly becomes not as previously thought…Tartt is exquisite here with the demanding role of emotional roller-coaster for each persona, giving additional depth and believability to each. All of our actors undergo severe and manifest transformations with the result, at times, being rather shocking.

A work that requires a commitment (559 pages in paperback form) but is nonetheless rewarding, “The Secret History” was Donna Tartt’s literary masterstroke prior to her Pulitzer winning “The Goldfinch.” A beautiful combination of intellect and rarefied mystery, this book will have you turning the pages and contemplating not only the human condition but those rare circumstances where one becomes thrust into and must immediately consider one’s actions. I thought this a brilliant vehicle for introspection and examination into one’s own personal character and I believe many readers will come away with the same thoughts.
40 people found this helpful
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JoEatsFoodandStuff
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Weak Opening with a Strong Ending
Reviewed in the United States on February 7, 2018
This won''t be one of my typical 3-star reviews. To start, the writing is gorgeous and so dreamy. None of the scenes seem fully grounded, kind of as if Tartt is guiding the reader through the confusing haze Richard remembers of his college years. A California boy with dreams... See more
This won''t be one of my typical 3-star reviews. To start, the writing is gorgeous and so dreamy. None of the scenes seem fully grounded, kind of as if Tartt is guiding the reader through the confusing haze Richard remembers of his college years. A California boy with dreams of studying ancient Greek, Richard goes to Hampden College in New England and it''s all Greek to him until his entire friend group slowly starts unraveling.

I love that the book opens with a murder because Richard starts off as a bit of a Holden Caulfield and the first half of the book just drags. None of the characters were remotely likable and, in the strangest way, I feel like I had met them all in college. They were pretentious and hyper-intellectual, but overall disasters. The poor pacing gives this first half 2 stars out of five.

Then the second half starts and my enjoyment sky-rocketed. The characters don''t get any more likable, but at least they get interesting. The entire fabric of Richard''s reality starts falling apart. Secrets pop up and each influence in his life develops several extra dimensions. I particularly am fascinated by the charismatic Henry and the cowardly Francis. They were so fleshed out, even though Henry only allowed small glimpses of their true personalities.

One of my biggest complaints was the sense of pacing. Sequences that lasted weeks, took a matter of paragraphs while entire hours lasted for pages. I kind of got the effect of adding tension in that way, but it wasn''t for me.

Ultimately, some really devious characters and interesting exploration on the effect trauma has on people''s perception. I''m not sure this book was for me, but I am glad I read it.
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Nicholas Scott
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I love this book
Reviewed in the United States on September 2, 2018
This is probably my third copy of this book that I''ve purchased since it was originally released. Donna Tartt is far and away one of my all-time favorite authors. Her writing is beautiful and captivating and this book enthralls. Truthfully all of them do, but this was... See more
This is probably my third copy of this book that I''ve purchased since it was originally released. Donna Tartt is far and away one of my all-time favorite authors. Her writing is beautiful and captivating and this book enthralls. Truthfully all of them do, but this was the first one and holds a special place. I''m waiting for the movie version. Of course, seldom, some may say never, has a movie version captured the essence of a book well. There are a few examples but I''m willing to be slightly disappointed in an attempt by someone. :) Capturing the characters, so perfectly drawn and brought to life by Tartt would be lovely to see on the big screen. All in all, if you haven''t read The Secret History, you''re truly missing some beautiful wondrous writing.
35 people found this helpful
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Paul B.
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Unhappy to have recieved this recommendation from a coworker.
Reviewed in the United States on October 13, 2020
This is the worst book I''ve had the misfortune to read in 2020. I was recommended this by a coworker as a virtual book exchange and understand why some hobby readers would find this book "deep" or "engaging" with some sense of inflated self that they''ve just conquered a... See more
This is the worst book I''ve had the misfortune to read in 2020. I was recommended this by a coworker as a virtual book exchange and understand why some hobby readers would find this book "deep" or "engaging" with some sense of inflated self that they''ve just conquered a tough book.

This book is pretentious. It has the pretense of depth. The Greek classes are window dressing, the teacher Julian is never seen, the main character is a paper thin fly on the wall, classic works of literature are referenced CONSTANTLY without context or follow up - leading the keen reader to recognize that the author has never read many of the works cited as appeals to authority and window dressing. Surely if Miss Tartt name drops Dostoyevsky this makes her Dostoyevsky.

This book is chock full of something I''d like to call "purple exposition" where scenes are explained rather than written, and characters are described in excruciating detail rather than given voice and personality. Donna is a BAD WRITTER. On page 400+, the reader is still being lectured about the Kennedy-like bearing of so and so flavorless morally relativistic character. Dresses are described intimately on mannequin doll characters who wander around back stabbing each other and doing every drug from meth to speed. This book is Donna''s barbie doll house.

Donna Tartt has a poor understanding of the subjects she seeks to write about -- EXCEPT for cocaine use and getting drunk and the occasional book reference which evidences some familiarity. Scenes at parties take on the most engaging prose in the novel even though she''s unable to grasp male sexuality. Speaking as a horny straight guy, Donna is wide of the mark on the way even the dippiest nerd losers / socio-psychopathic people conceptualize lust in practical terms. If your emotional spectrum is rage and lust (psychopath) and you feel nothing about killing people, then describing the brand of dress, cut, fabric, and sinews of a thigh ain''t it chief.

The criticism of "elite" culture ends up being a criticism of Donna Tartt for being such a piggish southern simpleton to think that she''s "penetrated" the veil of the actual sins and avarice of scholarly elite. Least not in dead languages among the humanities.

And just for good measure, Miss Tartt has peppered in incest, woman abuse which is also fraternal abuse, and drunken homosexuality -- all with no furtherance of the plot. It''s not sophisticated, it''s not funny, it doesn''t help the plot, and says a lot about the decline of societal standards of excellence that this book is held in such high regard.

0/5 if I could adjust the stars lower.

I recommended my coworker read another author''s first novel. The Instructions by Adam Levin. I''m a Slav Christian, don''t let the Jewish veneer scare you off. A much better use of your time.
16 people found this helpful
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Taylor
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
... Tartt has quickly become one of my all time favorite authors. I first read The Goldfinch about a ...
Reviewed in the United States on June 3, 2016
Donna Tartt has quickly become one of my all time favorite authors. I first read The Goldfinch about a year ago, and absolutely loved it. I just got done with The Secret History and was even more impressed by this book. I am not a scholar, and I did not understand the... See more
Donna Tartt has quickly become one of my all time favorite authors. I first read The Goldfinch about a year ago, and absolutely loved it. I just got done with The Secret History and was even more impressed by this book. I am not a scholar, and I did not understand the occasional piece of dialogue written in Greek or Latin, however, that does not distract from the story in any way. Some of it you could figure out based on the context. Tartt has an amazing ability to develop her characters into such complex and interesting people and by the end of the book you feel that you know them on a personal level.
The storyline is intriguing and suspenseful. Her writing offers the perfect amount of description without making the pace of the book seem slow. This book was very hard to put down once I started it, as was the case with her first book I read. Her writing style is different, in such a wonderful way, from the popular authors of today. I cannot wait to devour the next book of hers, which sadly, is the last of the 3 novels she has written. She seems to space out her books about every 10 years (Goldfinch was published in 2013) so, sadly, it looks like we may be waiting a while until her next book...
70 people found this helpful
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David Wade
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Overrated
Reviewed in the United States on April 22, 2019
This is one of the most overrated novels that I have ever read. It seems the author started out with an idea (what if some college friends killed someone?) and then just wrote a bunch of "stuff" to go around it. The novel seemed to have no direction; it never "moved"... See more
This is one of the most overrated novels that I have ever read. It seems the author started out with an idea (what if some college friends killed someone?) and then just wrote a bunch of "stuff" to go around it. The novel seemed to have no direction; it never "moved" towards anything. My advice? Pick a different book to read, this one was a huge waste of time.
14 people found this helpful
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Sunshine Jones
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Well, it''s definitely long
Reviewed in the United States on February 24, 2017
I would rate the author''s writing more highly but the books starts off so slow (and continues to be so dry and so slow for so much of this very long book) that about 1/3 of my book club decided not to finish it and gave up less than halfway through. I can''t blame any of... See more
I would rate the author''s writing more highly but the books starts off so slow (and continues to be so dry and so slow for so much of this very long book) that about 1/3 of my book club decided not to finish it and gave up less than halfway through. I can''t blame any of them. If I hadn''t been pushing myself to finish it for book club, I would have abandoned it, too. I read a review somewhere that most of the book reads like you''re overhearing a bunch of nerds trying to one-up each other with Classics references. That is an accurate description. I would also say it''s a book that really makes you think about education, formal and informal, in a very profound way. And will leave you contemplating the ripple effects that certain experiences or people can have in your life long after you''ve finished the book.
23 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Mr. M. Walsh
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Solid Three
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 22, 2018
Here''s my review: the epilogue felt earnt. This was because the book felt so very bloody long. It''s not a bad book - but it''s pretty anemic fare when you look closely. You''d think that ancient Greek would provide a charming and interesting motif. You''d be wrong. Like most...See more
Here''s my review: the epilogue felt earnt. This was because the book felt so very bloody long. It''s not a bad book - but it''s pretty anemic fare when you look closely. You''d think that ancient Greek would provide a charming and interesting motif. You''d be wrong. Like most of the book, it''s thin set dressing for a medium-interesting melodrama that doesn''t really go anywhere. It''s nicely written, but not so much as to ever make you stop and marvel. The characters are strangely thin. The plot seems poised to set them up as being profound, but then fumbles it. I did wonder if this was a thematic point, but I don''t really think so, on reflection. The characterisation is also somewhat....bloodless. Again, I don''t really this was deliberate *enough*. Meaning: I think it was deliberate, but serves no overarching purpose, like you''d hope. It''s fine. I wouldn''t go out of my way to recommend it.
36 people found this helpful
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Rebekah B
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A charming and shocking masterpiece filled with drama, twists, and bygone splendor
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 24, 2018
I read this book on a recommendation, and have to admit that after reading a few pages I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. I do not generally like books that are overly descriptive and feature more ''pretentious'' prose, in fact I detest classical literature, yet...See more
I read this book on a recommendation, and have to admit that after reading a few pages I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. I do not generally like books that are overly descriptive and feature more ''pretentious'' prose, in fact I detest classical literature, yet the description and classical language, is what gives The Secret History it''s charm. This book was published in 1992, but harks back to a time more reminiscent of the early 1900''s in style. The language used by some of the characters, namely Bunny, is reminiscent of The Great Gatsby. The characters are proper, intelligent, well-spoken,well-dressed, apparently wealthy young people, yet their lives are fueled by drink, drugs, and cigarettes. The drug abuse in this book is merely an undertone of the main story and therefore not as striking, especially considering the characters go about their addictions as though they are of no importance at all. This however, creates an air of mystery - building a world that few of us could ever know. A secret world of intoxication and prose. Of fine restaurants and best suits. ***spoilers*** The story is better described as a ''whydunnit'' - opening with the death of a main character, with Book 1 of the story describing the events leading to the death, and Book 2 describing the events after the death. Our narrator, Richard, arrives at the fictional Hampden College with the intention of continuing his studies in Greek, and there has his first encounter with enigmatic tutor Julian, who eventually permits him to study in his small selective class of only six students. Previously fascinated with these students, Richard soon finds himself drawn into their world of bygone-time splendor. Richard struggles to open himself up to the group, especially as they are all of discernible wealth, and he has entered the school on Financial Aid to the horror of his Californian parents, but soon finds that they are keeping a far bigger secret from him. The relationships between the main characters throughout the book are extremely interesting. At times it seems like everyone is sleeping with everyone, everyone hates everyone, everyone loves everyone. These friends are as family members, and move only together. As events unfold and some characters begin to lose themselves to either love, alcohol, murderous intentions, or drugs, the plot moves fantastically, with barely a dull paragraph. As previously mentioned, the use of such ornate and graceful language builds both atmosphere and suspense. It was a pleasure to read and I have even noticed Donna Tartt''s use of language sneaking into my day to day writing and speech. This book is a dark and classical masterpiece, the plot points of which you will never expect until they happen. I look forward to reading more of Tartt''s work.
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Ladyg
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Rich in detail and addictive
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 22, 2018
I just love Donna Tartt her writing is so rich in detail and genuinely beautiful! This book is engrossing and sinister the characters are microscopocally examined and they are immoral, tragic and deep. Donna writes in a classical manner and she weaves an intricate tapestry...See more
I just love Donna Tartt her writing is so rich in detail and genuinely beautiful! This book is engrossing and sinister the characters are microscopocally examined and they are immoral, tragic and deep. Donna writes in a classical manner and she weaves an intricate tapestry that will quite frankly leave you feeling desolate once you finish it! What can I read next that will compare to such quality storytelling 😯
21 people found this helpful
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Julie
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A very unusual book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 5, 2019
Wow. This is a heck of a book. Unlike any other I’ve ever read. It’s quite heavy going but I felt it was ultimately worth it although I felt it ran out of steam at the end (hence 4 stars not 5). I suppose it’s ultimately about peer pressure, about the masks we wear when...See more
Wow. This is a heck of a book. Unlike any other I’ve ever read. It’s quite heavy going but I felt it was ultimately worth it although I felt it ran out of steam at the end (hence 4 stars not 5). I suppose it’s ultimately about peer pressure, about the masks we wear when young and about trying to impress. Mainly (simply put) it’s about an intellectual group of university students who feel that the normal rules of society don’t apply to them with horrendous consequences. Written from the point of view of Richard who is desperate to be included into their inner sanctum and has no idea about the darkness at its core. The book stayed with me for quite a while afterwards.
9 people found this helpful
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Charlotte
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Protracted, dull and pretentious
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 14, 2020
I hated this book. I read to the end as I wanted to find out what the outcome was, and all the good reviews of it had me hoping against hope that it could turn around. It doesn''t. This book is extremely dull; very little actually happens, the characters are caricatures of...See more
I hated this book. I read to the end as I wanted to find out what the outcome was, and all the good reviews of it had me hoping against hope that it could turn around. It doesn''t. This book is extremely dull; very little actually happens, the characters are caricatures of either American college kids or Classics scholars, and the whole story could have been wrapped-up in about a third of the time it takes to read it.
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Secret sale sale History (LITERARY FICTIO) online

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Secret sale sale History (LITERARY FICTIO) online

Secret sale sale History (LITERARY FICTIO) online

Secret sale sale History (LITERARY FICTIO) online

Secret sale sale History (LITERARY FICTIO) online

Secret sale sale History (LITERARY FICTIO) online

Secret sale sale History (LITERARY FICTIO) online

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Secret sale sale History (LITERARY FICTIO) online

Secret sale sale History (LITERARY FICTIO) online

Secret sale sale History (LITERARY FICTIO) online

Secret sale sale History (LITERARY FICTIO) online

Secret sale sale History (LITERARY FICTIO) online

Secret sale sale History (LITERARY FICTIO) online

Secret sale sale History (LITERARY FICTIO) online

Secret sale sale History (LITERARY FICTIO) online

Secret sale sale History (LITERARY FICTIO) online