The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Best of: books for ages 18+ #10: ‘The Secret History’ by Donna Tartt

This book is really special. It’s very long, and dense with description, which makes it ideal for those wanting to get lost in a fictional world. It follows the antics of a group of college students studying classics under an eccentric but brilliant professor.

Published in 1992, it has quickly become both a best-seller and a well-recognised piece of classical fiction. Told through the eyes of Richard, a poor student who blags his way onto the course and keeps up a pretence of riches and class to his fellow students, the novel opens with the story of a murder. We then flash back to the start of Richard’s time at the college, and get to watch as the events unfold.

The environment of the novel is so rich – characters are painted deeply and accurately, and the setting is dripping with sumptuousness and detail. The characters are far from idealised, however, and it is their flaws and darkness that make this novel what it is: thrilling.

By the same author: Donna Tartt has published just two other novels: ‘The Little Friend’, and ‘The Goldfinch’, which won a huge number of prizes on its publication in 2013.



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