A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{July 21, 2014}   Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone_Girl_(Flynn_novel)Plot: Nick and Amy seemed to have an idyllic marriage until she mysteriously disappears on their 5th anniversary. Now Nick is desperate to prove that he didn’t kill her.

I want to write a better plot description than that but that’s what we know as we start and the fun of the novel is really unweaving the various threads and getting to the truth of the dark, Machiavellian plot. Suffice it to say that Flynn is a masterful writer with a perfect grasp of pacing; I flew through the 400 hundred pages in no time.

The first part of the novel alternates between Amy’s diary – describing their love affair and their disintegrating marriage – and present day Nick. I was impressed with the way in which Flynn kept us believably in Nick’s head while leaving us in doubt as to whether or not he killed his wife. He is constantly telling us that he is lying, even how many times he has lied, but never about what or what the truth is. He is cagey even in his own head. In a less skilled author’s hands, this could have seemed like a sloppy way to manipulate suspense but Flynn manages it perfectly. Then in the second and third parts, the shit completely hits the fan but I’ll let you discover that on your own.

I can’t say that I genuinely like any of the characters – except perhaps some very minor ones that are (intentionally) not done proper justice by the narrators. Nick in particular is a self-absorbed man with more than a little misogyny hidden behind his respectable mask. But Flynn crafts them so carefully and reveals them in such tantalizing bits that I can’t help but be fascinated by how terrible they are.

Though I have a lot of great things to say about the book and I genuinely enjoyed the experience of reading it, it left me troubled. I have some real discomfort, as a feminist, with some turns that the plot takes but I can’t properly get into it without spoiling a few key twists. So I’ll leave it at that.

There will be a movie based on the novel coming out in the fall. If you’ve read the book and worry that it will be boring without the surprise ending, fear not! I hear Flynn changed the ending for the movie. I find some of the casting choices questionable but I’ve been proven wrong about that before.

2014 (#36)


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