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Second Helping: Donna Tartt’s THE SECRET HISTORY


The first time I read The Secret History I can distinctly remember being blown away. Just like the book’s main character Richard I was sucked into the world of Hampden College and the tight-knit group studying Ancient Greek. Having originally read the book 10-11 years ago my memory was very fuzzy and I remember the book being about Richard falling in with this elite group who thought themselves above everybody else, so much so, that they believed they could get away with murder. But they couldn’t get away from the guilt and the secrets after the fact.

Reading it the second time (and being 10+ years older) changed the whole perspective of the book for me. I was around the same age as Richard the first time around so I guess I was susceptible to the charms of both the college and its inhabitants. Second time around I was much more aware of the subtle manipulation of Richard. This was probably in part to having already read the book but also part being older (and hopefully a little wiser). Instead of being charmed, like Richard,  by Henry, Francis and the twins I found them completely pretentious and detached from the real world. Their money, their attitude, their cleverness hid their naivety and I think on my first reading I (again like Richard) was the more naive one.


Despite reading The Secret History with this new perspective (or more likely because of it) I thoroughly enjoyed the book second time around. Donna Tartt is an immense talent and is well worth reading again and again.


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Paperback ISBN: 9780140167771 Popular Penguin: 9780141037691 eISBN: 9781405529631 Classification: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945) Format: Paperback (198mm x 129mm x 27mm) Pages: 640 Imprint: Penguin Books Ltd Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd Publish Date: 1-Jul-1993 Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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