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The Secret History

Tartt, Donna (Book - 2004 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Secret History

Item Details

Random House, Inc.
Donna Tartt, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for her most recent novel, The Goldfinch, established herself as a major talent with The Secret History, which has become a contemporary classic.

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 their lives are changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.

Baker & Taylor
Richard Papen, a relatively impoverished student at a New England college, falls in with an exclusive clique of rich, worldly Greek scholars and soon learns the dreadful secret that keeps them together.

& Taylor

Richard Papen, a relatively impoverished student at a New England college, falls in with an exclusive clique of rich, worldly Greek scholars and soon learns the dreadful secret that keeps them together. Reader's Guide included. Reprint. 50,000 first printing.

Authors: Tartt, Donna
Statement of Responsibility: Donna Tartt
Title: The secret history
Publisher: New York : Vintage Contemporaries, 2004
Edition: 1st Vintage Contemporaries ed
Characteristics: 559 p. ; 21 cm.
Subject Headings: Teacher-student relationships Fiction College students Fiction Classicists Fiction Murderers Fiction Vermont Fiction
Topical Term: Teacher-student relationships
College students
LCCN: 2004271588
ISBN: 1400031702
Branch Call Number: FIC T
MARC Display»


From the critics

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Aug 04, 2014
  • katmilr rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

Boring, slow, & anticlimatic. How is this labeled a thriller? Could the characters be anymore pretentious?

This book was suspenseful enough to keep my attention, and the author displays an impressive knowledge of classical works. I enjoyed it and would recommend it. I didn't love it because while I mostly thought it was beautifully written, I often found it verbose. The funeral scene almost gratuitously wallowed in discomfort and melodrama. The characters were very cynical. I found them interesting, but I could see why readers would stop caring about them. In all, though, the story kept me turning pages, and the writing and character development were excellent.

Jun 24, 2014
  • smichal rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

I'm giving up on it half way through. First of all, who goes to university to study Greek? It's a bunch of junior Thurston Howell the IIIs. You can imagine them saying "by Jove", "old boy", etc. {eye roll!} After 200 pages or so, we learn that the classmates killed a farmer, and one of them is blackmailing the others so they want to kill him too. The story is so boring and there is just too much text. It rambles on and on. I honestly cannot believe that this book was in the New York Times best seller list.

Jun 05, 2014
  • 55France rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Self absorbed and intellectual, college students casually become involved with murder without much thought to how serious that might be. A great, strange book. Written from the point of view of an awkward, lonely outsider attempting to join the group.

May 28, 2014
  • KristiShort rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed this book very much. Unfortunately, I was introduced to Donna Tartt with The Little Friend, which is pretty slow. So I wasn't very interested in reading this book, but I'm certainly glad I did!

Apr 24, 2014
  • patienceandfortitude rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A strange and fascinating tale of college students in a small Classics program, who become involved in murder. Reminds me of the advantages of no longer being that young.

Very different from The Goldfinch, but a great work in its own right. The horror creeps up on you. Shades of Gatsby and Lord of the Flies. Great option for a book discussion.

I can't rate it as I could not get into this story. As I see the mixed remarks I'm not the only one. I will try and read her new one though

Dec 18, 2013
  • rooibos rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Best book I read in 2013. Very clever, absorbing. First section excellent, second section little less so but still a brilliant read.

Apr 30, 2013
  • JCLGreggW rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Too bad there aren't six stars to give this book. A modern-day classic, Donna Tartt's debut novel is a mesmerizing, enthralling tale of longing, friendship, and murder. Middle-class teen Richard arrives at an upper-class New England boarding school and finds what he's always wanted - a group of friends who understand him and adopt him as one of their own. Of course, paradise can't last, and a fateful night during a botched pagan ritual, an event drives a splinter between the friends that festers and cracks, bringing everything down around them. This book is a bit of an oddity, being a classic Southern Gothic that takes place in New England, but the characters are memorable, the prose is beautiful, and it's filled with nostalgia for glorious times past - the kind of magical summer or period of time spent with friends that most of us can identify with. THE SECRET HISTORY is one of those books that I wish I could read again for the first time.

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