diane howard, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by diane howard)
This book began with a dive into classical literature students as a chosen group to "leave" the traditional curriculum at the eastern ivy league college and study with Julian, a treasured, enigmatic and charismatic scholar of classical Greek language. The dive takes the reader into a precious, protected and glowing world of a handful of idiosyncratic students. Each of them are fascinating in and of themselves, as is Julian..but Julian remains enigmatic. Against this brilliant character study of very diverse students, which is enough for any novel in and of itself, we are drawn into a bizarre and truly phantasmal "backstory" so to speak, which unfolds tantalizingly slow. We are given a clue at the beginning, but somehow the author made this reviewer forget about it and take the plunge. To anyone interested in the academic world of literature as I was while studying latin to meet a requirement for a second degree, it is a delight. But you in no way need that as a background to find the plot breathtaking in its shock to the reader's system. The backstory becomes front and center and we are swimming for our (and others) lives. The whole book challenges one's sensibilities and will no doubt, be wildly discussed in book clubs. I reread the last half to be amazed once again at how this unfolds. This is a role model for character depth, plot, a fascinating setting, as well as the beautifully crafted descriptive prose. I am in awe.
Katy N., January 2, 2011 (view all comments by Katy N.)
The story of six Greek studies students attending an elite Vermont college. One of the group is murdered by the others. The narrator is the only one in the group that is not of a wealthy family though this is not an important fact. It is author Donna Tartt's complex analysis and ability to describe the psychology and inevitability of the outcome that makes this such a good book. At the novel's end I felt I knew the characters very well.
Lisa LAylon, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by Lisa LAylon)
The language, and situations set forth in this book had the most profound effect on me. It is amazing the lengths Richard went to for the feeling of belonging. That he was able to cast his morals aside is a tribute to the authors genius.
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