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The Secret History - Donna Tartt

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 morality, their lives are changed profoundly and for ever.The Secret History is a story of two parts; the chain of events that led to the death of a classmate - and what happened next.

Genre: Literary

Rating: 5/5

Favourite Quotes:

“I only have to glance over my shoulder for all those years to drop away.”

“The least of us know that love is a cruel and terrible master.”

“Things got white around the edges, and it seemed I had not past, no memories…”

“One mustn’t underestimate the primal appeal—to lose one’s self, lose it utterly.”


I loved everything about this book, but most of all, I loved the immersive quality of the writing. It took my back to my own days at uni, walking across campus as the autumn leaves covered the footpath. This book is powerful in it’s subdued telling of a small group of students bound together in their pursuit of knowledge while also bringing out the very best—and the very worst in each other. The story begins with the death of one of the main characters, before it returns to the beginning, how they all met, and eventually winding the reader along the path of how the death came about. It’s a flawless demonstration of the human condition and the darkness that drives us. The passion and obsession for knowledge, money, power, control, love, the desire for the perception of perfection which must be upheld at all costs. And the extent of what people will go to when this is threatened. Each of the characters are beautiful and flawed in their own ways, that when brought together creates a perfect storm. Each chapter is rife with manipulation and mind games before we begin to see the psychological consequences of their actions take hold. Bloody brilliant.


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