The Secret History by Donna Tartt(Vintage Books)
Please note that this is a review for the audio book.
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 find themselves entering a terrifying heart of darkness from which they may never return.
The novel starts out with informing us of a murder, while narrator Richard Papen begins to tell us of the circumstances of him ending up at Hampden College and meeting these elusive and eccentric Ancient Greek students.
Hampden is the back drop for this story, and it has apparently been based on the college the author, Donna Tartt, attended (Bennington College – which might I add Bret Easton Ellis and Peter Dinklage also attended).
Imagine a small college and five Ancient Greek students who have isolated themselves from such a small society – you can imagine the type of issues this would create in 20-somethings.
This book has been described at a murder in reverse and bears strong similarities to a Greek tragedy – fate dictating the very circumstances that lead to an escalation of already fermenting issues.
From the outset you know the characters are headed for tragedy and there is nothing you can do, but one cannot imagine the depth and effects the murder will have on this group of students.
I listened to the audio book version of this novel because I find listening to audio books makes my commute to work every morning feel faster.
I actually find myself not minding sitting in traffic so that I can listen to more of the story. The audio book is narrated by its author Donna Tartt, which in itself is quite special.
The one thing that kept me interested in this book was that Donna managed to give each character their own voice, and by this I mean she literally had a different voice for each character, although this is quite common in audio books what I found even better was that each character even though they’re all American had a different accent.
You could hear the difference between Bunny’s nasal tone, to Richard’s flat Californian accent and Francis’ Boston “r” dropping accent. Donna read this book so well she had me covering my mouth and screaming “Oh my God!” while sitting in traffic.
Would I recommend audio books? Yes. I know some people say “I can’t bear to have someone read to me!” or “I hate a book read in an American accent”. However I wouldn’t write off audio books altogether until you have tried one.
Another complaint is that “Audio books are so expensive!” Audible offers affordable subscriptions suited to your needs. And being a digital download makes it far easier to store and put on your iPod or other device.
Keen on reading this book? Buy your copy now.
Audio version is unfortunately unavailable on Kalahari.com
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