Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way

100 Book by 40: SECRET HISTORY

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Book: Secret History
Author: Donna Tartt
Published: 1992

I started Ulysses and Bleak House this week. I missed this in high school and college. I’m sure I missed it in high school because the content was too scandalous for my conservative Christian high school. I probably missed it in college due to the fact that my only literature credits came in the form of Ancient Greek Lit. In retrospect this seems like time poorly spent, as I recall virtually nothing from The Iliad or The Odyssey.

Secret History would have been a page-turner regardless of my alternate reading option being a bit difficult. I hesitate to call it a murder mystery, because the book tells you all from the outset. If there’s a mystery it’s about laying out the context for a motive.

But it does this so expertly. I am fascinated with the characters, and buzzed through the five hundred plus pages to understand what drove them. The narrator, a California native trying to make sense of affluent New England cultural norms let me ride on his shoulder. His voice as outsider there, let me naturally assume his observations.

My acceptance of the narrator drove my curiosity. I related to him. I found myself accepting his rationalizations for his actions. And that’s the power of this book. Not only did I feel bad for the obscenely wealthy murderers, but I grew convinced that they took the only path open to them.

This book was super. Read it. Prepare to creep yourself out.

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