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The Secret History
The Secret History
Author: Donna Tartt
Richard Papen had never been to New England before his nineteenth year. Then he arrived at Hampden College and quickly became seduced by the sweet, dark rhythms of campus life -- in particular by an elite group of five students, Greek scholars, worldly, self-assured, and, at first glance, highly unapproachable. — Yet as Richard was accepted and d...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780804111355
ISBN-10: 0804111359
Publication Date: 1993
Pages: 503
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.

3.4 stars, based on 142 ratings
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette
Members Wishing: 7
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Secret History on + 146 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
I loved this book. It has everything: beauty, unrequited love, betrayal, mystery and murder. This book reads like a classic. I kept flipping to the copyright page to make sure it was written in 1992. I thought the story was much older. The characters were believable, if you have ever been in a dormitory type setting you will see what I mean. Every time I thought that the author could not put another twist, I was wrong. As you get to the end you read faster and faster to find out what happens, I could not put it down. I ride the bus to work, while reading this the ride went by so fast. Usually I kind of know where I am but this book took me straight to Vermont. Time would pass and I would not know where I was. I highly recommend this book.
reviewed The Secret History on + 21 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
The characters in this book all exhibit a very dark side, yet at the same time you feel great empathy towards the young narrator Richard Papen who gets caught up in something that quickly spirals beyond his control. A vivid and original take on the "college" novel.
reviewed The Secret History on + 17 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I have never enjoyed a book so much and yet disliked the characters so thoroughly. I found myself staying up much too late to read "just one more chapter."
animlgrl avatar reviewed The Secret History on + 84 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Was not expecting this book to be what it became...it is one of my favorites so far. As others have said, it is a little slow in the beginning, and a few of the characters you wanted to just roll your eyes at. But a very good suspensful book.
reviewed The Secret History on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
From the beginning, you know who dies. The rest of the book is a gentle unfolding of why and how and the entire who. I thought this would be a terrible mystery, but was really surprised at how much I cared about the various characters and their activities. No one was what he/she appeared at different times, and all, including the victim, were greatly flawed. That did not make the story less charming or intriguing, and Tartt did an admirable job of portraying a group of folks who didn't quite fit in with the average campus, but who made their own mini-society and lived and died by it.
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alyd avatar reviewed The Secret History on + 3 more book reviews
I don't normally go for thrillers, but this is the thinking person's exception. You find out who did it on the first page, but don't care- the writing is that good.

If you are looking for an excellent read which will last you multiple international flights and the accompanying interminable layovers, it's an excellent choice.

This is a dense book, and has a decidedly pro-academic bias. All things which I enjoy; highly recommended.
Catspaw avatar reviewed The Secret History on
The book was very good in some areas, although it seemed a bit dated. It's set in 1982, and written in 1992. I actually found myself disliking the author/narrator for making condescending comments like "He had such a nice touch with the common people," who were apparently anyone who didn't attend the third rate college where most of the alumni "ran shops selling hippie paraphanalia." The relationship with the professor, which was supposedly so pivotal, was never really fleshed out. Tartt wrote little about him, and even less of his interactions with the students, while other less important relationships were incredibly overwritten.

I couldn't help but compare it to the Rule of Four - also about a group of college friends studying the classics. If Rule of Four is a 10, this book is a 3.
reviewed The Secret History on + 5 more book reviews
Wonderful read, a bit slow in parts but aided in character development.