Review: The Secret History by Donna Tart

29044I really liked this story. This is a story of 6 friends. It is the telling of the events that lead up to the death of one of the friends, the death itself, and the aftermath of that death. There are layers and layers of nice, dark, deep, pathological juicy bits to go though. So much to keep you up late at night to think about. You’ll be thinking about this book all the time you read it…but you won’t stop thinking about it during the times you have to set it aside for the *real* world.

But let me be honest here….as much as I loved the story, and no matter how much I enjoyed these very…errr…unusual characters, I just don’t care for Ms. Tartt’s writing style. It’s tough for me. I absolutely loved “The Goldfinch”. Much more than I liked this one. However, I felt the exact same. I love books that go into great detail. I loved longer books. But having said that, the details I think Ms. Tartt goes into just aren’t the ones I need to know. I find bits of her stories very very very VERY repetitive. The bits I want more details to, I think she just skims over them or gives us just the barest of bit of knowledge she can to get on to the boring bits. I find myself just tapping tapping tapping my feet, waiting for her to get all those nonsense words out of her mouth and get back to the really relevant bits.

So many of these characters are so fascinating (or were to me). I can almost forgive the bits I felt dragged on for way long…almost….but not quite…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Review – A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

22822858You know when you finish a book, and you have a sense of catharsis – a feeling that someone has gone inside your body and mind and washed it out with a hose pipe?  Yeah, I’m currently at that stage after finishing Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life.   It was only published in early March, so don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of it before; actually, it was completely by accident that I came across an NPR review of this book whilst reading another review on the same page.  l did a little more research and found a few more reviews.  I immediately went to NetGalley and requested a review copy.  I now am going to buy the hardback version.  I need it on my bookshelf!

You know by now that I don’t like to spend too much time on premise as it often can inadvertently contain spoilers, so I’ll give you the briefest overview.    A Little Life follows four best friends from when they are roommates at college right through the next 30 or so years.   We have Jude, Malcolm, JB and Willem.   All have different personalities and ways of handling issues.  We explore their lives as they try and deal with revelations, tragedy, happiness, fame, and each other.   However, rest assured, that Yanagihara’s novel isn’t just your standard coming of age drama.  No.  It goes deep into who we are , how much we can endure, and what it means to truly live.

The characters in this novel are truly what make it an exceptional book.   Each character is fleshed out sufficiently enough for the reader to believe that they could actually exist and that the dynamics between them are genuine.  Even the secondary characters are believable and vital to the story.  In the hands of another author, the characters could have easily become caricatures and much eye rolling would have occurred.

The language used in this novel is phenomenal.   Having the ability to evoke a sense of horror and shock without being explicit, is a true art form.  The language is raw, yet it never becomes explicit just for the sake of shock value.  It is believable, poetic and realistic all in one.

I will give fair warning that some of the themes and content are indeed painful.  I have read some negative reviews from people, that I believe, went into this novel thinking it was going a Nicholas Sparks type deal, and they were duly slapped in the face.  Go into this novel with an open mind, a willingness to recognize that different people react different ways, because Yanagihara does not make it easy for you.

Having said that, if you want to experience a novel that will really make you pay attention and and will present you with the harsh and beautiful realities of life, then do yourself a favour, go to the library, click on the link, go to your local bookshop, and pick up a copy of this truly unique novel.

~ Pegasus.

A Little Life: A Novel