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Gone Girl


Gone Girl Cover

ISBN13: 9780307588364
ISBN10: 030758836x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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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—



“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



 “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



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 127 comments:

or.lee, July 2, 2015 (view all comments by or.lee)
I kept running across magazine and newspaper critics raving about this book but many people I actually saw in public places reading the book that I spoke to were not sure how they would rate it; so after a year passed I decided to read it and I was still skeptical because most new authors just aren't that good! So once I actually started reading this novel,it went slow because it was so different then what is typical,then halfway through I could not put it down! It covers the new media tactics of "jumping to conclusions" , it makes the police out to be simple minded,lazy and inept during their investigation except for that one peculiar policewoman using her gut instinct to seek the truth from a ruse derived by appearances that are cleverly staged by a clever sociopath. The movie followed the book very well but the book proved to a much more satisfying joyride for my reading experience , an incomparable late night cruise into suspense that left me wanting more after it ended. Yes, I was up half the night reading this book to it's finish. I highly recommend this book to others and yes ,the movie is a must watch also as it brings the characters to life on the big screen.
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mmc6661, October 23, 2014 (view all comments by mmc6661)
A must read for suspense lovers !! It's like a wild rollar coaster ride that keeps you guessing till the end !
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
mmc6661, October 23, 2014 (view all comments by mmc6661)
A must read for suspense lovers !! It's like a wild rollar coaster ride that keeps you guessing till the end !
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Product Details

A Novel
Flynn, Gillian
Gillian Flynn
Mystery & Detective - General
Mystery-A to Z
Publication Date:
9.4 x 6.4 x 1.4 in 1.42 lb

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Gone Girl Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 432 pages Crown - English 9780307588364 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Both a cautionary tale for bad men and a clarion call for unhappy women, Gone Girl is a compelling page-turner that does not let up. Every few pages another bombshell drops, and the tension is exquisite! While Nick Dunne lackadaisically plans to show up for his fifth-wedding-anniversary celebration, his wife, Amy, has gone to the usual lengths by preparing poetry, a clue-filled treasure hunt, and a year-appropriate gift. There's obviously a slight disparity in their views on the occasion, and in fact, there is disparity in everything in the Dunnes' marriage. When Nick comes home to the scene of a struggle and his wife has disappeared, the nightmare to follow is miles beyond anything he imagines. Chilling, smart, and absolutely humming with barely contained panic, Gone Girl is one fast-paced, thrilling read you shouldn't miss.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Gone Girl is a fast-paced, suspenseful, and terrifying thriller written by Gillian Flynn. The story follows husband Nick Dunne as he searches for his wife, Amy, when she disappears on the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary. When the media paints Nick as the prime suspect in his wife's disappearance, he must figure out what happened to her or face dire consequences. Alternating points of view between Nick and Amy's diary create a mystery that will keep even the biggest fans of the genre guessing until the last page.

"Staff Pick" by ,

In Gone Girl, Flynn finds a way to crawl inside the dark places in your mind, sets up camp, and proceeds to tell ghost stories. By the time the fire dies, you can't remember why you invited her. This book was freezer worthy. If you have a significant other, you'll be sleeping in the guest room with the door closed and locked.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "There's the evil you can see coming — and then there's Amy Elliott. Superficially, this privileged Gotham golden girl, inspiration for her psychologist-parents' bestselling series of children's books, couldn't be further from the disturbingly damaged women of Edgar-finalist Flynn's first two books, Sharp Objects and Dark Places. But as Amy's husband, Nick Dunne, starts to realize after she disappears from their rented mansion in his Missouri hometown on their fifth anniversary — and he becomes the prime suspect in her presumed murder — underestimating Amy's sick genius and twisted gamesmanship could prove fatal. Then again, charmer Nick may not be quite the corn-fed innocent he initially appears. Flynn masterfully lets this tale of a marriage gone toxically wrong gradually emerge through alternating accounts by Nick and Amy, both unreliable narrators in their own ways. The reader comes to discover their layers of deceit through a process similar to that at work in the imploding relationship. Compulsively readable, creepily unforgettable, this is a must read for any fan of bad girls and good writing. Agent: Stephanie Rostan, Levine Greenberg." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "A perfect wife's disappearance plunges her husband into a nightmare as it rips open ugly secrets about his marriage and, just maybe, his culpability in her death....One of those rare thrillers whose revelations actually intensify its suspense instead of dissipating it. The final pages are chilling."
"Review" by , "[W]hat looks like a straightforward case of a husband killing his wife to free himself from a bad marriage morphs into something entirely different in Flynn's hands. As evidenced by her previous work (Sharp Objects, 2006, and Dark Places, 2009), she possesses a disturbing worldview, one considerably amped up by her twisted sense of humor. Both a compelling thriller and a searing portrait of marriage, this could well be Flynn's breakout novel. It contains so many twists and turns that the outcome is impossible to predict."
"Review" by , "Flynn cements her place among that elite group of mystery/thriller writers who unfailingly deliver the goods....Once again Flynn has written an intelligent, gripping tour de force, mixing a riveting plot and psychological intrigue with a compelling prose style that unobtrusively yet forcefully carries the reader from page to page."
"Review" by , "Gone Girl is one of the best — and most frightening — portraits of psychopathy I've ever read. Nick and Amy manipulate each other — with savage, merciless and often darkly witty dexterity. This is a wonderful and terrifying book about how the happy surface normality and the underlying darkness can become too closely interwoven to separate."
"Review" by , "The plot has it all. I have no doubt that in a year's time I'm going to be saying that this is my favorite novel of 2012. Brilliant."
"Review" by , "Gone Girl builds on the extraordinary achievements of Gillian Flynn's first two books and delivers the reader into the claustrophobic world of a failing marriage. We all know the story, right? Beautiful wife disappears; husband doesn't seem as distraught as he should be under the circumstances. But Flynn takes this sturdy trope of the 24-hour news cycle and turns it inside out, providing a devastating portrait of a marriage and a timely, cautionary tale about an age in which everyone's dreams seem to be imploding." Laura Lippman, New York Times bestselling author of The Most Dangerous Thing and I'd Know You Anywhere
"Review" by , "Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl is like Scenes from a Marriage remade by Alfred Hitchcock, an elaborate trap that's always surprising and full of characters who are entirely recognizable. It's a love story wrapped in a mystery that asks the eternal question of all good relationships gone bad: How did we get from there to here?"
"Review" by , "Just this minute I finished a week of feeling betrayed, misled, manipulated, provoked, and misjudged, not to mention having all my expectations confounded. Considering how compulsively I kept coming back for more, I am seriously thinking of going back to page one and doing it all again."
"Review" by , "I cannot say this urgently enough: you have to read Gone Girl. It's as if Gillian Flynn has mixed us a martini using battery acid instead of vermouth and somehow managed to make it taste really, really good. Gone Girl is delicious and intoxicating and delightfully poisonous. It's smart (brilliant, actually). It's funny (in the darkest possible way). The writing is jarringly good, and the story is, well...amazing. Read the book and you'll discover — among many other treasures — just how much freight (and fright) that last adjective can bear."
"Review" by , "Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl reminds me of Patricia Highsmith at the top of her game. With Gone Girl, she's placed herself at the top of the short list of authors who have mastered the art of crafting a tense story with terrifyingly believable characters."
"Review" by , "Gone Girl manages to be so many stellar things all at once — suspenseful, inventive, chilling, funny, unsettling — as well as beautifully plotted and fiercely well-written. Gillian Flynn is a thrilling writer."
"Review" by , "Reminds suspense readers of the old Alfred Hitchcock stories....This is one puzzle you do not want to miss."
"Review" by , "Gone Girl is a superbly constructed, ingeniously paced and absolutely terrifying. You begin by thinking that all marriages are a bit like this: they start with high hopes and get bogged down in nagging and money worries. But then the psycho-drama creeps up on you with chilling power. A five-star suspense mystery."
"Review" by , "Gone Girl is as skillfully creepy as her previous work....A chilling, stylish read about another unknowable woman."
"Review" by , "The married duo in Gillian Flynn's superb third novel takes the idea of unreliable narrators to a whole new level. When Nick Dunne's lovely wife Amy is violently abducted on their fifth wedding anniversary, the police and the press immediately put Nick in the frame for her murder. Amy's friends testify that she was afraid of her husband, and the missing woman's diary backs up their impressions. Nick's computer is full of inexplicable searches, his mobile phone is plagued by mysterious calls and his own inner monologue offers a darker perspective on amazing Amy and the state of their turbulent marriage. Flynn keeps the accelerator firmly to the floor, ratcheting up the tension with wildly unexpected plot twists, contradictory stories and the tantalizing feeling that nothing is as it seems. Deviously good."
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