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The Secret History

Why do I always picture Bunny as Kent from ​Real Genius​?
(One of the best ’80s movies ever, by the way, if you haven’t seen it go do so asap.)

​​Anyway, let’s talk about this book. I’ll start.

I think this is at least my fourth reading, and having read The Goldfinch ​since last time, I’m finding a new appreciation for Donna Tartt’s immense talent at telling a long story almost in real time, or slowly enough that it feels that way, yet it never actually feels slow or bogged down in detail and never loses my interest. I know it took her eleven years to write The Goldfinch; I wonder how long ​The Secret History ​took. I Googled it, no luck, but I did find this on the book’s Wikipedia page:​

​”​Kakutani, speaking in the New York Times, states ‘In The Secret History, Ms. Tartt manages to make…melodramatic and bizarre events (involving Dionysian rites and intimations of satanic power) seem entirely plausible.'”

​I was just reading the part where Henry is telling Richard about the killing, and I paused at one point and was like, okay, no one seems to think this whole thing is weird enough. Meaning Richard is taken aback some, but there’s no like WTF ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, HENRY? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR EFFING MIND? reaction I think I would have had. It reminds me of this ​X-Files​ episode where they catch a giant man-flukeworm hybrid (it’s disgusting, pasty white and this big sucker mouth with lots of teeth, but a human body), and when Scully sees it she sort of raises her eyebrows and that’s it–a reaction totally not in line with the horrific thing she’s seeing. But at the same time, in the book, it’s like…yeah, okay, I could see these Greek creeps wilding out like that. Sure. Tartt makes it sound convincing.

​I’m sure I have more coherent thoughts than this, but I am not prepared with them yet. Really I just wanted to post the picture of Kent because I’ve been thinking about doing it for weeks.


It's a long story.

One thought on “The Secret History

  1. 1. I am almost insulted that you think I might not ever have seen Real Genius. I haven’t seen it in like 20 years though — might be time to watch it again.
    2. I didn’t picture Bunny as Kent, but that’s pretty funny. I pictured him as a different actor. I think it’s going to take me a little bit to figure out who it is. I’ll post a photo when I do.
    3. Tartt totally makes these insane events seem plausible. Partly I think it’s because she’s such a great writer but also I think it has to do with the fact that these characters are painted to be such rich old-money types. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t know any of these people in real like, so they seem extremely foreign to me, almost like a different species. So I guess when I read it, I just sort of chalked it up to the fact that money has made these people insane. Kind of like Donald Trump’s gold apartment in NY. Like, no normal person would find that normal, right? But this guy who could have any decor he wanted, decides he wants to put gold on every conceivable fucking surface imaginable, with as many flourishes as will fit. Too much money makes you crazy.
    I love talking about this book and am glad you persuaded me to re-read it. I will write up a post about some of my thoughts soon.


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