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Sharp Objects: A Novelby Gillian Flynn
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Gillian Flynn's debut novel is a literary thriller that will shock and repulse you, even as it draws you inexorably into its tangled, sadistic web of deceit, secrets, and horrific revelations. With her vivid characters and sharp-edged dialogue, Flynn is a writer to watch!
"Wallowing in the misery, dysfunction, backstabbing, casual sexual exploitation, and rampant pettiness of small-town life is the strongest part of the narrative. I wonder if Sharp Objects might have worked better as a pitch-black comedy, or as a thriller without the mystery trappings. Flynn seems to have invested so much energy in making her main character live and breathe, neuroses fully ablaze, that she neglected to craft a formidable mystery." Chris Bolton, Powells.com (read the entire Powells.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker's troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille's first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.
NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg
Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family's Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.
HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims — a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.
With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable.
"Flynn's debut novel focuses on an emotionally fragile young woman whose sanity is being severely tested by family dysfunction, smalltown incivility and murder. It is a mesmerizing psychological thriller that is also quite disturbing and, thanks to reader Lee's chillingly effective rendition, at times almost unbearably so. Camille Preaker, a novice reporter with a history of self-mutilation, is sent to her hometown in Missouri to cover the murder of one teenage girl and the disappearance of another. There, she must face a variety of monsters from the past and the present, including her aloof and patronizing mother, her obnoxiously precocious 13-year-old stepsister who dabbles in drugs, sex and humiliation, and an unknown serial killer whose mutilated victims bring back haunting memories. Lee's interpretation of mom enhances the character's detachment and airy state of denial to an infuriating degree. And her abrupt change of pace when Camille suddenly begins chanting the words carved on her body is hair-raising. But the voice Lee gives to the stepsister — tinged with a sarcastic, cynical and downright evil girly singsong — makes one's blood run cold. Simultaneous release with the Shaye Areheart hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 21). (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"More in the tradition of Joyce Carol Oates than Agatha Christie, this one will leave readers profoundly disturbed. But from the first line...you know you're in the hands of a talented and accomplished writer." The Boston Globe
"Darkly original....Flynn expertly ratchets up the suspense....A disturbing yet riveting tale." People
"A first novel that reads like the accomplished work of a long-time pro, the book draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction....All in all, a terrific debut." Chicago Tribune
"A tense, irresistable thriller....Flynn's first-person narration is pitch-perfect, but even more impressive is the way she orchestrates the slim novel's onrushing tension toward a heart-stopping climax." Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"To loathe one's home town is a venerable literary tradition, but I can't think of another novel that has painted a more scathing, over-the-top portrait of small-town America....Flynn generates suspense over who killed the two little girls." The Washington Post Book World
"Flynn delivers a great whodunit, replete with hinting details, telling dialogue, dissembling clues....Piercingly effective and genuinely terrifying." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"This impressive debut novel is fueled by stylish writing and compelling portraits of desperate housewives, southern style....A stylish turn on dark crimes and even darker psyches." Booklist
"To say this is a terrific debut novel is really too mild....Sharp Objects isn't one of those scare-and-retreat books; its effect is cumulative. I found myself dreading the last thirty pages or so but was helpless to stop turning them. Then, after the lights were out, the story just stayed there in my head, coiled and hissing, like a snake in a cave. An admirably nasty piece of work, elevated by sharp writing and sharper insights." Stephen King
"[F]irst-time novelist Flynn expertly divulges [a] tale reminiscent of the works of Shirley Jackson....Highly recommended." Library Journal
After eight years, the murders of two preteen girls — timed nearly a year apart — bring reporter Camille Preaker reluctantly back to her hometown. As she works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, Camille finds herself forced to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past.
About the Author
Gillian Flynn is the author of the runaway hit Gone Girl, an international sensation that has spent more than eighty-five weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Her work has been published in forty languages. Gone Girl is soon to be a major motion picture from Twentieth Century Fox. Flynn's previous novels, Dark Places and Dagger Award winner Sharp Objects, were also New York Times bestsellers. A former writer and critic for Entertainment Weekly, she lives in Chicago with her husband and son.
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