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David MitchellDavid Mitchell's newest mind-bending, time-skipping novel may be his most accomplished work yet. Written in six sections, one per decade, The Bone... Continue »
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    The Bone Clocks

    David Mitchell 9781400065677

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Gone Girl

by

Gone Girl Cover

ISBN13: 9780385366755
ISBN10: 0385366752
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Excerpt

Chapter One

Nick Dunne

the day of

 

When I think of my wife, I always think of her head. The shape of

it, to begin with. The very first time I saw her, it was the back of the

head I saw, and there was something lovely about it, the angles of it.

Like a shiny, hard corn kernel or a riverbed fossil. She had what the

Victorians would call finely shaped head. You could imagine the

skull quite easily.

 

I’d know her head anywhere.

 

And what’s inside it. I think of that too: her mind. Her brain, all

those coils, and her thoughts shuttling through those coils like fast,

frantic centipedes. Like a child, I picture opening her skull, unspooling

her brain and sifting through it, trying to catch and pin down

her thoughts. What are you thinking, Amy? The question I’ve asked

most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person

who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every

marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are

you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?

 

My eyes flipped open at exactly six a.m. This was no avian fluttering

of the lashes, no gentle blink toward consciousness. The awakening

was mechanical. A spooky ventriloquist- dummy click of the lids:

The world is black and then, showtime! 6- 0- 0 the clock said— in my

face, first thing I saw. 6- 0- 0. It felt different. I rarely woke at such a

rounded time. I was a man of jagged risings: 8:43, 11:51, 9:26. My

life was alarmless.

 

At that exact moment, 6- 0- 0, the sun climbed over the skyline of

oaks, revealing its full summer angry- god self. Its reflection flared

across the river toward our house, a long, blaring finger aimed at me

through our frail bedroom curtains. Accusing: You have been seen.

You will be seen.

 

I wallowed in bed, which was our New York bed in our new house,

which we still called the new house, even though we’d been back here

for two years. It’s a rented house right along the Mississippi River,

a house that screams Suburban Nouveau Riche, the kind of place

I aspired to as a kid from my split- level, shag- carpet side of town.

The kind of house that is immediately familiar: a generically grand,

unchallenging, new, new, new house that my wife would— and did—

detest.

 

“Should I remove my soul before I come inside?” Her first line upon

arrival. It had been a compromise: Amy demanded we rent, not buy,

in my little Missouri hometown, in her firm hope that we wouldn’t

be stuck here long. But the only houses for rent were clustered in

this failed development: a miniature ghost town of bank- owned,

recession- busted, price- reduced mansions, a neighborhood that closed

before it ever opened. It was a compromise, but Amy didn’t see it that

way, not in the least. To Amy, it was a punishing whim on my part, a

nasty, selfish twist of the knife. I would drag her, caveman- style, to a

town she had aggressively avoided, and make her live in the kind of

house she used to mock. I suppose it’s not a compromise if only one of

you considers it such, but that was what our compromises tended to

look like. One of us was always angry. Amy, usually.

 

Do not blame me for this particular grievance, Amy. The Missouri

Grievance. Blame the economy, blame bad luck, blame my parents,

blame your parents, blame the Internet, blame people who use the

Internet. I used to be a writer. I was a writer who wrote about TV

and movies and books. Back when people read things on paper, back

when anyone cared about what I thought. I’d arrived in New York in

the late ’90s, the last gasp of the glory days, although no one knew it

then. New York was packed with writers, real writers, because there

were magazines, real magazines, loads of them. This was back when

the Internet was still some exotic pet kept in the corner of the publishing

world— throw some kibble at it, watch it dance on its little leash,

oh quite cute, it definitely won’t kill us in the night. Think about it: a

time when newly graduated college kids could come to New York and

get paid to write. We had no clue that we were embarking on careers

that would vanish within a decade.

 

I had a job for eleven years and then I didn’t, it was that fast. All

around the country, magazines began shuttering, succumbing to

a sudden infection brought on by the busted economy. Writers (my

kind of writers: aspiring novelists, ruminative thinkers, people whose

brains don’t work quick enough to blog or link or tweet, basically old,

stubborn blowhards) were through. We were like women’s hat makers

or buggy- whip manufacturers: Our time was done. Three weeks after

I got cut loose, Amy lost her job, such as it was. (Now I can feel Amy

looking over my shoulder, smirking at the time I’ve spent discussing

my career, my misfortune, and dismissing her experience in one sentence.

That, she would tell you, is typical. Just like Nick, she would

say. It was a refrain of hers: Just like Nick to . . . whatever followed,

whatever was just like me, was bad.) Two jobless grown- ups, we spent

weeks wandering around our Brooklyn brownstone in socks and pajamas,

ignoring the future, strewing unopened mail across tables and

sofas, eating ice cream at ten a.m. and taking thick afternoon naps.

 

Then one day the phone rang. My twin sister was on the other

end. Margo had moved back home after her own New York layoff

a year before— the girl is one step ahead of me in everything, even

shitty luck. Margo, calling from good ole North Carthage, Missouri,

from the house where we grew up, and as I listened to her voice, I

saw her at age ten, with a dark cap of hair and overall shorts, sitting

on our grandparents’ back dock, her body slouched over like an old

pillow, her skinny legs dangling in the water, watching the river fl ow

over fish- white feet, so intently, utterly self- possessed even as a child.

Go’s voice was warm and crinkly even as she gave this cold news:

Our indomitable mother was dying. Our dad was nearly gone— his

(nasty) mind, his (miserable) heart, both murky as he meandered

toward the great gray beyond. But it looked like our mother would

beat him there. About six months, maybe a year, she had. I could tell

that Go had gone to meet with the doctor by herself, taken her studious

notes in her slovenly handwriting, and she was teary as she tried

to decipher what she’d written. Dates and doses.

 

“Well, fuck, I have no idea what this says, is it a nine? Does that

even make sense?” she said, and I interrupted. Here was a task, a

purpose, held out on my sister’s palm like a plum. I almost cried with

relief.

 

 “I’ll come back, Go. We’ll move back home. You shouldn’t have to

do this all by yourself.”

 

She didn’t believe me. I could hear her breathing on the other end.

 

“I’m serious, Go. Why not? There’s nothing here.”

 

A long exhale. “What about Amy?”

 

That is what I didn’t take long enough to consider. I simply assumed

I would bundle up my New York wife with her New York interests,

her New York pride, and remove her from her New York parents—

leave the frantic, thrilling futureland of Manhattan behind— and

transplant her to a little town on the river in Missouri, and all would

be fine.

 

I did not yet understand how foolish, how optimistic, how, yes,

just like Nick I was for thinking this. The misery it would lead to.

 

“Amy will be fine. Amy . . .” Here was where I should have said,

“Amy loves Mom.” But I couldn’t tell Go that Amy loved our mother,

because after all that time, Amy still barely knew our mother. Their

few meetings had left them both baffled. Amy would dissect the conversations

for days after—“And what did she mean by . . . ,” as if my

mother were some ancient peasant tribeswoman arriving from the

tundra with an armful of raw yak meat and some buttons for bartering,

trying to get something from Amy that wasn’t on offer.

 

Amy didn’t care to know my family, didn’t want to know my

birthplace, and yet for some reason, I thought moving home would

be a good idea.

 

My morning breath warmed the pillow, and I changed the subject in

my mind. Today was not a day for second- guessing or regret, it was a

day for doing. Downstairs, I could hear the return of a long- lost sound:

Amy making breakfast. Banging wooden cupboards (rump- thump!),

rattling containers of tin and glass (ding- ring!), shuffling and sorting

a collection of metal pots and iron pans (ruzz-shuzz!). A culinary

orchestra tuning up, clattering vigorously toward the finale, a cake

pan drumrolling along the floor, hitting the wall with a cymballic

crash. Something impressive was being created, probably a crepe,

because crepes are special, and today Amy would want to cook something

special.

 

It was our five- year anniversary.

 

I walked barefoot to the edge of the steps and stood listening,

working my toes into the plush wall- to- wall carpet Amy detested on

principle, as I tried to decide whether I was ready to join my wife.

Amy was in the kitchen, oblivious to my hesitation. She was humming

something melancholy and familiar. I strained to make it out— a folk

song? a lullabye?—and then realized it was the theme to M*A*S*H.

Suicide is painless. I went downstairs.

 

I hovered in the doorway, watching my wife. Her yellow- butter

hair was pulled up, the hank of ponytail swinging cheerful as a jumprope,

and she was sucking distractedly on a burnt fingertip, humming

around it. She hummed to herself because she was an unrivaled

botcher of lyrics. When we were first dating, a Genesis song came on

the radio: “She seems to have an invisible touch, yeah.” And Amy

crooned instead, “She takes my hat and puts it on the top shelf.”

When I asked her why she’d ever think her lyrics were remotely, possibly,

vaguely right, she told me she always thought the woman in the

song truly loved the man because she put his hat on the top shelf. I

knew I liked her then, really liked her, this girl with an explanation

for everything.

 

There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and

feeling utterly cold.

 

Amy peered at the crepe sizzling in the pan and licked something

off her wrist. She looked triumphant, wifely. If I took her in my arms,

she would smell like berries and powdered sugar.

 

When she spied me lurking there in grubby boxers, my hair in full

Heat Miser spike, she leaned against the kitchen counter and said,

“Well, hello, handsome.”

 

Bile and dread inched up my throat. I thought to myself: Okay, go.

I was very late getting to work. My sister and I had done a foolish

thing when we both moved back home. We had done what we always

talked about doing. We opened a bar. We borrowed money from Amy

to do this, eighty thousand dollars, which was once nothing to Amy

but by then was almost everything. I swore I would pay her back,

with interest. I would not be a man who borrowed from his wife— I

could feel my dad twisting his lips at the very idea. Well, there are all

kinds of men, his most damning phrase, the second half left unsaid,

and you are the wrong kind.

 

But truly, it was a practical decision, a smart business move. Amy

and I both needed new careers; this would be mine. She would pick

one someday, or not, but in the meantime, here was an income, made

possible by the last of Amy’s trust fund. Like the McMansion I rented,

the bar featured symbolically in my childhood memories— a place

where only grown- ups go, and do whatever grown- ups do. Maybe

that’s why I was so insistent on buying it after being stripped of my

livelihood. It’s a reminder that I am, after all, an adult, a grown man,

a useful human being, even though I lost the career that made me

all these things. I won’t make that mistake again: The once plentiful

herds of magazine writers would continue to be culled— by the

Internet, by the recession, by the American public, who would rather

watch TV or play video games or electronically inform friends that,

like, rain sucks! But there’s no app for a bourbon buzz on a warm day

in a cool, dark bar. The world will always want a drink.

 

Our bar is a corner bar with a haphazard, patchwork aesthetic. Its

best feature is a massive Victorian back bar, dragon heads and angel

faces emerging from the oak— an extravagant work of wood in these

shitty plastic days. The remainder of the bar is, in fact, shitty, a showcase

of the shabbiest design offerings of every decade: an Eisenhowerera

linoleum floor, the edges turned up like burnt toast; dubious

wood- paneled walls straight from a ’70s home- porn video; halogen

floor lamps, an accidental tribute to my 1990s dorm room. The ultimate

effect is strangely homey— it looks less like a bar than someone’s

benignly neglected fixer- upper. And jovial: We share a parking

lot with the local bowling alley, and when our door swings wide, the

clatter of strikes applauds the customer’s entrance.

 

We named the bar The Bar. “People will think we’re ironic instead

of creatively bankrupt,” my sister reasoned.

 

Yes, we thought we were being clever New Yorkers— that the

name was a joke no one else would really get, not get like we did.

Not meta- get. We pictured the locals scrunching their noses: Why’d

you name it The Bar? But our first customer, a gray- haired woman in

bifocals and a pink jogging suit, said, “I like the name. Like in Breakfast

at Tiffany’s and Audrey Hepburn’s cat was named Cat.”

 

We felt much less superior after that, which was a good thing.

I pulled into the parking lot. I waited until a strike erupted from

the bowling alley— thank you, thank you, friends— then stepped

out of the car. I admired the surroundings, still not bored with the

broken- in view: the squatty blond- brick post office across the street

(now closed on Saturdays), the unassuming beige office building just

down the way (now closed, period). The town wasn’t prosperous, not

anymore, not by a long shot. Hell, it wasn’t even original, being one

of two Carthage, Missouris— ours is technically North Carthage,

which makes it sound like a twin city, although it’s hundreds of miles

from the other and the lesser of the two: a quaint little 1950s town

that bloated itself into a basic midsize suburb and dubbed it progress.

Still, it was where my mom grew up and where she raised me and Go,

so it had some history. Mine, at least.

 

As I walked toward the bar across the concrete- and- weed parking

lot, I looked straight down the road and saw the river. That’s what

I’ve always loved about our town: We aren’t built on some safe bluff

overlooking the Mississippi— we are on the Mississippi. I could walk

down the road and step right into the sucker, an easy three- foot drop,

and be on my way to Tennessee. Every building downtown bears

hand- drawn lines from where the river hit during the Flood of ’61,’75,

’84, ’93, ’07, ’08, ’11. And so on.

 

The river wasn’t swollen now, but it was running urgently, in strong

ropy currents. Moving apace with the river was a long single- fi le line

of men, eyes aimed at their feet, shoulders tense, walking steadfastly

nowhere. As I watched them, one suddenly looked up at me, his face

in shadow, an oval blackness. I turned away.

 

I felt an immediate, intense need to get inside. By the time I’d gone

twenty feet, my neck bubbled with sweat. The sun was still an angry

eye in the sky. You have been seen.

 

My gut twisted, and I moved quicker. I needed a drink.

 

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

KilledMyTV, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by KilledMyTV)
Excellent. I recommend this to friends.
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KT, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by KT)
This thrilling story of a missing woman is told by two people. The missing woman and her husband. The narration alternates between them, one beginning when they met and the other from today. It goes on this way until the stories meet. The audiobook uses two voices - a man and a woman. It is a very exciting story and perfectly easy to imagine.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385366755
Author:
Flynn, Gillian
Publisher:
Random House Audio Publishing Group
Author:
Gillian Flynn
Author:
Whelan, Julia
Author:
Heyborne, Kirby
Subject:
Mystery-A to Z
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Contemporary Thrillers
Subject:
fiction;mystery;thriller;marriage;suspense;missouri;crime;murder;psychological thriller;relationships;missing persons;sociopath;unreliable narrator;novel;contemporary;american;disappearance;new york city;revenge;usa;psychological;new york;mind games;conte
Subject:
fiction;mystery;thriller;marriage;suspense;missouri;crime;murder;psychological thriller;missing persons;relationships;sociopath;unreliable narrator;novel;contemporary;american;disappearance;usa;revenge;new york city;psychological;new york;contemporary fic
Subject:
fiction;mystery;thriller;marriage;suspense;missouri;crime;murder;psychological thriller;missing persons;relationships;sociopath;unreliable narrator;novel;contemporary;american;disappearance;usa;revenge;new york city;psychological;new york;contemporary fic
Subject:
fiction;mystery;thriller;marriage;suspense;missouri;crime;murder;psychological thriller;missing persons;relationships;sociopath;unreliable narrator;novel;contemporary;american;disappearance;usa;revenge;new york city;psychological;new york;contemporary fic
Subject:
fiction;mystery;thriller;marriage;suspense;missouri;crime;murder;psychological thriller;missing persons;relationships;sociopath;unreliable narrator;novel;contemporary;american;disappearance;usa;revenge;new york city;psychological;new york;contemporary fic
Edition Description:
Fifteen CD
Publication Date:
20120731
Binding:
COMPACT DISC
Language:
English
Dimensions:
7.88 x 7 x 4.63 in 2.42 lb

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Contemporary Thrillers
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Suspense

Gone Girl New Compact Disc
0 stars - 0 reviews
$50.00 In Stock
Product details pages Random House Audio - English 9780385366755 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Flynn's bestselling novel is a dark and cynical treatise on how malignant a marriage can become when the wrong people say 'I do.' The book begins with Nick Dunne's first-person account of wife Amy's disappearance on their fifth wedding anniversary and his subsequent encounters with the local North Carthage, Miss., homicide detectives who suspect him of murder. Interspersed throughout the book are Amy's diary entries, which chart her possibly unreliable version of her and Nick's meeting, marriage, and eventual growing apart. This literary setup is perfect for the dueling narration provided by Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne. The latter has a soft, youthful delivery that registers a vague sincerity that could also be interpreted as sarcasm — just the sort of voice one might expect from an intelligent, oddly disaffected, potential wife killer. Whelan's version of Amy is filled with entitlement, egotism, and the edgy anger of a genuine or imagined victim. The combined narration of Whelan and Heyborne infuse Flynn's bestseller with an energy that audio fans will find even more satisfying. A Crown hardcover. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , US
"Synopsis" by , GILLIAN FLYNN is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Gone Girl and the New York Times bestsellers Dark Places and Sharp Objects. A former writer and critic for Entertainment Weekly, her work has been published in 42 countries. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.
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