I have heard so many rave reviews and glowing testimonials about this book from my younger colleagues in the bookshop over the years, that I’ve been wondering how on earth I missed hearing about The Secret History when it first came out.
What was I doing in 1992/3 that allowed me to completely miss the hype surrounding this book?
I cannot answer this in any way that provides satisfaction or clarification. I was teaching. I was reading. I watched the news and read the weekend papers. I discussed books with anyone I could find. But The Secret History never crossed my radar.
However, I can tell you that a number of years ago, whilst browsing through a second hand bookshop on holidays, I came across a copy in very good condition.
With my colleagues in mind, I bought it & began reading it straight away, to see what all the fuss was about.
I was a little puzzled.
The who-dunnit was revealed early on so that we were left with a why-dunnit. So far so good.
The place and time were lovingly drawn; I could picture the campus, feel the cold & remember the insecurities and awkwardness of the age.
But I have to confess that I didn’t really care about any of the characters.
I didn’t care that one of them was done away with by the others in the group and I didn’t really care about their motivations.
Whilst I enjoyed the book as a whole & appreciated what Tartt achieved, it certainly hasn’t ended up on any of my favourite/Top 10 lists at any point.
Maybe you need to be a certain age or at a certain time in your life to discover the true joys of this book?
Five years later, I’m still trying to work out why The Secret History didn’t weave the kind of magic on me that it has on so many others.
The Secret History has become my secret mystery; an enjoyable enough read but why all the fuss?
I’m posting this as a Flashback Friday post (although I’ve just discovered that Lisa is having a hiatus over Christmas!)