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4 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

The Little Friend

by

The Little Friend Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the author of The Secret History — "an elegant, edifying work of art" (Entertainment Weekly), an international bestseller, and one of the most astonishing debuts in recent times — comes a hugely anticipated novel:

In a small Mississippi town, Harriet Cleve Dusfresnes grows up haunted by the murder of her brother, who was found hanging from a tree in their yard when she was just a baby. Robin's killer was never identified, nor has the family recovered. With her father having absented himself and her mother incapacitated by grief, Harriet lives largely in the world of her own imagination, alone even in the company of her teenage sister (destined never to recall whatever she saw that terrible day) and elderly relatives (for whom this tragedy was a culminating blow). For Harriet, though, Robin is a link to the happier past she knows about from stories and photographs; and so she decides, in the summer of her 12th year, to find his murderer and exact her revenge.

Even more transfixingly suspenseful than its predecessor, The Little Friend is a dark novel of lost childhood, breathtaking in its ambition and power, rich in moral paradox, profound insights into human frailty, and storytelling brilliance.

Review:

"Tartt is able to quietly transform the book from a patient study of a family's disassembly and despair to a gut-thumping story of a little girl seeking a measure of understanding and well-deserved revenge....Though absent of the twisted sexual tension of East Coast blue bloods that so thoroughly inhabited The Secret History, Tartt's first novel, The Little Friend is a more focused read, a deeper exploration of the dark manner in which the past never leaves us alone." Tom Chiarella, Esquire

Review:

"A far more emotionally resonant novel than its predecessor....[Ms. Tartt] makes palpable the losses that the family has sustained over the years." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Review:

"In this review, I can tell you that The Little Friend — her second novel, arriving 10 years after The Secret History — is overlong, its writing occasionally precious and its resolution murky; and I can also praise the book's vital characters, its supple conjuring of mood and place, and its dry, dark humor. But I can't explain how it is that this is a novel you sink into, or how Tartt casts her weird spell. I suspect, however, that it has nothing to do with acquired technique or any understanding of real life; no doubt she picked up the knack during a lifetime of obsessive and probably unhealthy reading. Wherever she got it, she sure knows how to write the sort of book that people who want to get lost in a book get lost in." Laura Miller, Salon.com

Review:

"[L]anguidly atmospheric....[B]y the time you get to page 543, you're so engrossed in just about everything but the murder that you no longer care who dunnit....[I]t takes you somewhere worth going." Daniel Mendelsohn, The New Yorker

Review:

"The Little Friend is a terrific story....By now it should be obvious what Tartt's been up to since The Secret History came out: she's been slaving away on this extraordinary book." Malcolm Gladwell, Newsweek

Review:

"[D]estined to become a special kind of classic — a book that precocious young readers pluck from their parents' shelves and devour with surreptitious eagerness..." A. O. Scott, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"[V]ery long, very overheated, yet absorbing....Despite an overload of staggered false climaxes, it's all quite irrationally entertaining....Tartt appears to have struck gold once again." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[A] sprawling story of vengeance...told in a rich, controlled voice that can come only from long effort....[A] grownup book that captures the dark, Lord of the Flies side of childhood and classic children's literature." James Poniewozik, Time

Review:

"[W]ell worth the long wait....[A]n exceptionally suspenseful, flawlessly written story fairly teeming with outsize characters and roiling emotion." Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"[C]onfirms [Tartt's] talent as a superb storyteller, sophisticated observer of human nature and keen appraiser of ethics and morality....The Little Friend flowers with emotional insight, a gift for comedy and a sure sense of pacing." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Because of Tartt's mastery of suspense, this book will grip most readers all the way through to its bitter end....Although this is a large novel, Tartt has created a claustrophobic world in which there is little possibility of freedom for any character." Natasha Walter, The Guardian (U.K.)

Review:

"Breathtaking....A sublime tale rich in religious overtones, moral ambiguities, and violent, poetic acts....From its darkly enticing opening, we are held spellbound." Lisa Shea, Elle

Review:

"Readers are easily swept up....At times humorous, at times heartbreaking, The Little Friend is most surprising when it is edge-of-your-seat scary." Dennis Moore, USA Today

Review:

"[B]y the time you get to page 543, you're so engrossed in just about everything but the murder that you no longer care who dunnit. And, by that point, you suspect that Tartt doesn't care, either....[The Littel Friend] takes the shape of a murder mystery, but it's not really about a death at all. It's about a way of life....The fact that The Littel Friend turns out to be quite different from the thriller that the reader...may have expected is a serious flaw. And yet as a novel of Southern manners it succeeds remarkably well....The Little Friend doesn't get where it was headed..., but there's no question that it takes you somewhere worth going." The New Yorker

Synopsis:

A grandly ambitious and riveting novel of childhood, innocence and evil.

Synopsis:

The hugely anticipated new novel by the author of The Secret History. Even more transfixingly suspenseful than its predecessor, this is a dark work of lost childhood, rich in moral paradox, as a 12-year-old Mississippi girl sets out to find her brother's murderer.

About the Author

Donna Tartt won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for her most recent novel The Goldfinch Her novels The Secret History and The Little Friend were also international bestsellers. She was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, and is a graduate of Bennington College.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Kebi, January 19, 2015 (view all comments by Kebi)
After reading The Goldfinch last year (and being blown away by Tartt's storytelling and writing brilliance - again - I decided to go back and re-read The Little Friend, which I read originally when it first came out. It was memorable then, though I'd forgotten much (10 years!). It seemed even richer than I remembered. What I loved: 1) her beautiful and affecting prose, 2) her breathtaking storytelling that seized me and didn't let go until the end, and 3) her ability to enter "foreign" worlds (in this case, a southern childhood) and inhabit them like a native, and to take you there so you felt like a native too. Someone mentioned Lord of the Flies in a review of this novel, and the reference is apt (though Lord of the Flies left me far more depressed). These are children, but no less purposeful and intense about their lives than the most intense adult. The book was full of jaw dropping scenes, heartbreaking ones, funny ones, and terrifying ones, as well as simply being full of beauty. I really loved this book. (An aside: I loved The Goldfinch too, but The Secret History - not so much. I couldn't get into it but maybe I'll try again one of these days.)

I strongly recommend The Little Friend to fans of The Goldfinch and to everyone who appreciates genius literary fiction.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
MargPDX, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by MargPDX)
I loved this book. I just re-read it to lead a discussion for my book club. The characters snap and the dark humor is a delight.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
Deborah Fochler, August 19, 2007 (view all comments by Deborah Fochler)
If you want a book to read fast - this is not the one for you. I am an avid reader and had to stop and drag out a dictionary at least twice. Ms. Tartt loves big words and lots of them. But this story is worth the effort. It is not what I expected at the beginning but still delves into the psyche of children and adults alike. It is emotional, scary and at times extremely disturbing and yet at moments you feel the "love" of this family and their hurt and pain and search for the revelations of all the secrets - the need to know what happened to a loved one. And that is the saving grace of this novel - the love of family.
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(4 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781400031696
Author:
Tartt, Donna
Publisher:
Vintage
Author:
Tartt, Donna
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries
Publication Date:
October 28, 2003
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
640
Dimensions:
8 x 5.13 x 1.12 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

The Little Friend Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 640 pages Vintage - English 9781400031696 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Tartt is able to quietly transform the book from a patient study of a family's disassembly and despair to a gut-thumping story of a little girl seeking a measure of understanding and well-deserved revenge....Though absent of the twisted sexual tension of East Coast blue bloods that so thoroughly inhabited The Secret History, Tartt's first novel, The Little Friend is a more focused read, a deeper exploration of the dark manner in which the past never leaves us alone."
"Review" by , "A far more emotionally resonant novel than its predecessor....[Ms. Tartt] makes palpable the losses that the family has sustained over the years."
"Review" by , "In this review, I can tell you that The Little Friend — her second novel, arriving 10 years after The Secret History — is overlong, its writing occasionally precious and its resolution murky; and I can also praise the book's vital characters, its supple conjuring of mood and place, and its dry, dark humor. But I can't explain how it is that this is a novel you sink into, or how Tartt casts her weird spell. I suspect, however, that it has nothing to do with acquired technique or any understanding of real life; no doubt she picked up the knack during a lifetime of obsessive and probably unhealthy reading. Wherever she got it, she sure knows how to write the sort of book that people who want to get lost in a book get lost in."
"Review" by , "[L]anguidly atmospheric....[B]y the time you get to page 543, you're so engrossed in just about everything but the murder that you no longer care who dunnit....[I]t takes you somewhere worth going."
"Review" by , "The Little Friend is a terrific story....By now it should be obvious what Tartt's been up to since The Secret History came out: she's been slaving away on this extraordinary book."
"Review" by , "[D]estined to become a special kind of classic — a book that precocious young readers pluck from their parents' shelves and devour with surreptitious eagerness..."
"Review" by , "[V]ery long, very overheated, yet absorbing....Despite an overload of staggered false climaxes, it's all quite irrationally entertaining....Tartt appears to have struck gold once again."
"Review" by , "[A] sprawling story of vengeance...told in a rich, controlled voice that can come only from long effort....[A] grownup book that captures the dark, Lord of the Flies side of childhood and classic children's literature."
"Review" by , "[W]ell worth the long wait....[A]n exceptionally suspenseful, flawlessly written story fairly teeming with outsize characters and roiling emotion."
"Review" by , "[C]onfirms [Tartt's] talent as a superb storyteller, sophisticated observer of human nature and keen appraiser of ethics and morality....The Little Friend flowers with emotional insight, a gift for comedy and a sure sense of pacing."
"Review" by , "Because of Tartt's mastery of suspense, this book will grip most readers all the way through to its bitter end....Although this is a large novel, Tartt has created a claustrophobic world in which there is little possibility of freedom for any character."
"Review" by , "Breathtaking....A sublime tale rich in religious overtones, moral ambiguities, and violent, poetic acts....From its darkly enticing opening, we are held spellbound."
"Review" by , "Readers are easily swept up....At times humorous, at times heartbreaking, The Little Friend is most surprising when it is edge-of-your-seat scary."
"Review" by , "[B]y the time you get to page 543, you're so engrossed in just about everything but the murder that you no longer care who dunnit. And, by that point, you suspect that Tartt doesn't care, either....[The Littel Friend] takes the shape of a murder mystery, but it's not really about a death at all. It's about a way of life....The fact that The Littel Friend turns out to be quite different from the thriller that the reader...may have expected is a serious flaw. And yet as a novel of Southern manners it succeeds remarkably well....The Little Friend doesn't get where it was headed..., but there's no question that it takes you somewhere worth going."
"Synopsis" by , A grandly ambitious and riveting novel of childhood, innocence and evil.
"Synopsis" by , The hugely anticipated new novel by the author of The Secret History. Even more transfixingly suspenseful than its predecessor, this is a dark work of lost childhood, rich in moral paradox, as a 12-year-old Mississippi girl sets out to find her brother's murderer.
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