Tuesday, 3 June 2014

This Girl Gone, Well and Truly

On Kindle, Gillian Flynn’s ‘Gone Girl’ is just under 900 pages long. I spent all of yesterday afternoon , post lunch to bedtime, reading it. A marathon, every hour or so I needed to blink a layer of film off my eyes, but soon it was head down and onwards again.

By now there can be few readers of contemporary novels who have not read it, so I won’t be spoiling anything if I talk about it. The book was on the bestseller lists both here and in the US for weeks some time time ago. I tend to come to current bestsellers late, mostly because bestsellers are not often my preferred choice of reading. In the end, when everyone, including the Guardian reviewer ( A Must Read!),  is raving about a particular novel, I give in. I have ‘The Goldfinch’ and ‘The Luminaries’ downloaded but if or when I’ll to get them remains to be seen.

I’d never heard of Gillian Flynn, but this is not her first novel.
Judging by this book Flynn is an extraordinarily good writer.
She hooked me in right from the start and didn’t release me until the end. Nick and Amy are a happy couple, New York writers both; they lose their jobs, money becomes tight and they move to small town Missouri to look after Nick’s mother and father. Their marriage suffers, they bicker and fight and then Amy disappears. The Police think Nick has killed her.

Gone Girl switches between Nick's narrative, as the hunt for the beautiful, blond Amy consumes the attention of America's media, and Amy's diary, as she writes about the early days of their relationship. We never know who is telling the truth. We can never quite say who the protagonists are.

Gone Girl is a psychological thriller, again, not my favourite genre. For instance, I find Patricia Highsmith almost unreadable, she scares and disturbs me so. But Flynn is good, she knows me and readers like me. She pulls us in gently, only gradually increasing the suspense, delighting, baffling, disturbing us in turn, until we have no choice but to continue to the clever, funny and ultimately terrifying conclusion.

If I have a niggle, it is a minor one. Towards the end the police are more stupid than they need to be in a novel of this calibre. Only one officer sees the truth. On the other hand, if the facts of Amy’s disappearance had been fully revealed to the authorities, the ending wouldn’t have been half as terrifying as it is.



31 comments:

  1. Because of eye problems, I have not been able to read as much as I used to do, but that book does sound like a good one.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like an intriguing read. I quite enjoy psychological thrillers myself. Ever since I read Thomas Harris' Silence of the Lambs as a teenager, I was hooked. Have a great day Friko!

    ReplyDelete
  3. ha. stupid police....smiles. i was just complaining of that about a tv show we were watching last night...summer is my reading time...i will check her out...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I went to my library website and put a hold on the book. I'm number 6 in line, so I'll get it in a week or two. Sounds like my kind of read. Thanks, Friko. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've heard mixed reviews about this from people who have read it (versus critics, who unanimously praise the writing). I get a little creeped out with plots like this, but the premise is certainly intriguing.

    I'll be curious to hear what you have to say about the Goldfinch. I keep meaning to white a post about it but somehow it just gets delayed!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I read it way back and wrote to Flynn at the time and received a response. I just love when that happens. Flawless book, don't know whether I want to see the movie. Maybe.

    XO
    WWW

    ReplyDelete
  7. Friko, the plotting of Gone Girl is very tightly wrapped, and I found that just a bit annoying as I got about a third of the way in. However, I overcame my feeling of claustrophobia, and continued on to the end. I admit to reading faster and faster, just to get the book behind me.

    I'm now reading Jo Nesbo's Son.

    I read about 30 pages of The Goldfinch before the library due date popped up on my calendar, and I've now been able to check that book out from the library once again. I find it very overwritten, and wish the editor had been tougher on trimming. I'm not sure I will be able to finish The Goldfinch. I don't find the characters or the depiction of The Metropolitan Museum of Art believable. (I worked at the Met.)

    Whew...that's just about critiquing for this comment, don't you think? xo

    ReplyDelete
  8. Friko, "Gone Girl" sounds intriguing... and probably a very good read. But I'm not much into psychological thrillers as they tend to freak me out. I'd rather not have those thoughts or pictures in my mind (just me)... and your last words "terrifying conclusion" did it. However, I know that many do enjoy these types of movies and books and when well written are very popular.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I just posted my own book list form the spring quarter. When you said 900 pages I thought, uh uh, no way, too long, it will take me forever to read. But now that I've read to the bottom of your post, I just might.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hello,

    'Gone Girl' was an all in one, do not put down until finished, secretly brought to the dining table book. This is the perfect genre for one of us, best avoided genre for the other. An intriguing, intricately woven, carefully written book that provided a welcome new format for this type of novel. And yes, detectives are really rather better than those portrayed by Flynn and the book would have been all the better for a higher level of intellect amongst the constabulary! Nevertheless, a jolly good read said one of us!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I haven't read this one, but put it down on my ever-growing list of possibilities. I'm a little leery of the "terrifying conclusion" note, but find sleep easier after terrifying books than after terrifying movies.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I read it and fell in love with the writing style and the characters. The plot for me was just the tool to move these characters along. I read the luminaries and liked it, but not loved it. It was hard for me to keep track of all the characters. It will make a good movie, though. The Goldfinch still sits on my Kindle for some time in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Bestsellers aren't always my choice, either, but I must read this one because it comes with your recommendation, and that is worth a great deal to me. I don't believe you could recommend a bad book.
    I can't read a whole book in one day any more because my eyes tire quickly since I had cataract surgery on them...one at a time, of course.
    I must keep one of those eyes out for "Gone Girl" now.
    Luv, K

    ReplyDelete
  14. I've only seen this book mentioned about 1000 times, so I guess I should read it. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I haven't read it - and you have whetted my appetite. Thank you. And I agree with you about Patricia Highsmith too.

    ReplyDelete
  16. If the other three attempts to leave a comment show up, please ignore them. Next, tomorrow, I intend to post photos of s flower I am having difficulty identifying. Third, based on your recommendation, I have ordered this book. If it gives me nightmares, I will haunt you. I too find PH disturbing.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Read the plot summary on wikipedia, that's about as much reading as I can cope with.
    Ben Affleck may be cast to play Nick and he has the acting range of John Wayne but without the charisma.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Not usually my kind of book but you do make it sound intriguing. I'll put a hold on it at my library. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Read it. Loved the writing, kind of hated the story. Very disturbing. As for the Goldfinch, I made it to the end and now fly the flag of the only reader in America who didn't love it.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Another good review for this book, it's on my library list. I tried, believe me I really tried, to read ‘The Luminaries’. Three times I tried and admitted defeat. Maybe I will try again in the dead of winter. I thought Catton writes beautifully constructed sentences but lacks flair as a story teller. As Tabor did, I found it hard to keep track of all the characters and they weren't interesting or lifelike enough to make remembering them worthwhile.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I wouldn't normally buy it but I'll look at it now, when I next go into our local bookstore (yes we still have one!)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Friko, just wanted to see how things were going with you. Think of your often. I read that book. With my senior moments becoming more common I can't remember a thing about it. My best friend recommended it and we always read the same books so as to discuss. I watched the movie Monument Men the other day. It did not get good reviews at all. But I love any kind of historical movie. Wondered if you had seen it.. I saw MSND at our community theater not long ago. It was done in the original manner and I admire those local folks who can get that style down. Wishing you all the best.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Read the book last year and loved it -- believable characters; clever plotting; the whole thing artfully done. I am skeptical of the movie ... but will probably go see it. (I was also skeptical about the movie version of Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, but thought both they did a pretty good job in both the Swedish and American versions.)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Psychological thrillers are my favorite kind of mysteries. I will have to check this out. :)
    I do like a bit of disturbing, also--LOL! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  25. My heart beating fast
    as I read your sharing
    and it might be too intense for this one :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. I love thrillers and detective stories, Friko. I should read this book in English, I think it isn't translated.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks, it is spelled Campnula here too. BTW. I don't much like the chapters in The Gone Girl. Hard to work up sympathy for either one. They must have one hell of a marriage.

    ReplyDelete
  28. It's become one of those books that everyone has read, but is definitely a good read. Sophie Hannah writes well in a similar vein, with intriguing twists in the tail - have you tried her? I am currently on the hunt for another good book to immerse myself in...

    ReplyDelete
  29. I am one of the few who hasn't read it, mostly because it's not my genre. However, you may have convinced me to give it a go.

    =)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi Friko - I haven't heard of the book or the author - so thanks for highlighting something that needs to be read ... it certainly had you hooked .. cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete

Comments are good, I like to know what you think of my posts. I know you'll keep it civil.