The Secret History – Book Review

The Secret History by Donna TarttIn The Secret History by Donna Tartt, a debut literary thriller novel, we follow Richard, who transfers to Hampden college from another college in California, where he’s from. He becomes interested in a small group of students compromised of Henry, Francis, Charles, Camilla and Bunny, who are Greek majors like Richard himself. Their small group is headed by Julian, the professor, whom Richard convinces to be part of the Greek program.

As with all of Tartt’s books, we are taken on a journey and fully immersed into the world that the book is set in. The book is slow paced and detailed, which I don’t mind because it is so well written and the language flows so well that you don’t realize how much you’ve read until you come up for air.

Another one of Tartt’s strong suits is characters. She creates characters I love to hate as well as believable ones and ones we can relate to. Richard is one of the main characters but I don’t believe he is that important to most of the events that take place in the book. I feel that he is just there as a unreliable narrator. Even though he was accepted into their exclusive Greek program, he is still treated like an outside looking in. We learn of important developments after the fact and through one of the five other main characters, Henry, Francis, Charles, Camilla or Bunny. Except, of course, when they kill Bunny (not a spoiler, it’s in the first line of the book), which Richard has a hand in. 

Overall, I enjoyed reading about this world and these characters. I’ve read the other two books by Donna Tartt, The Little Friend and The Goldfinch and I was not disappointed in this one. If you like slow paced novels with a rich world and characters, you should definitely read this one.

Thanks for reading,
Nora