Secret History vs Little Friend

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Which do you prefer? I have some attachments to The Secret History (I was at Bennington at the same time as Tartt) and may be biased. Was anyone completely satisfied with The Little Friend?

Michael Jacobs, Sunday, 11 January 2004 14:41 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I thought both were horrendous but in the end, I'd have to stick with 'The Secret History', even with all the deft and uninspired Latin references.

writingstatic (writingstatic), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 01:04 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Donna Tartt -- hott or nott?

quincie, Tuesday, 13 January 2004 17:43 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"little friend" : perviest book title ever?

vahid (vahid), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 17:58 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

are her books any good? because right-minded folks I knew always said "no", but in what sense are they bad? Bad in an AS Byatt sense of badness (pretentious overblown hooha) or bad in a Caleb Carr sense (poorly written obvious hooha)?

anthony kyle monday (akmonday), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 20:37 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Apparently I am in the minority (and remember I already owned up to being biased) but I really like The Secret History. The Little Friend (the title of which just makes me think of Al Pacino chewing up scenery in Scarface) has some nice writing in it but doesn't satisfy.

As for the Hot or Not... that's even more subjective.

Michael Jacobs (Michael Jacobs), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 21:46 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"The Secret History" I preferred over "Little Friend." In fact, I'm not sure I'll pick up another book by her after reading "Friend..."

yesabibliophile (yesabibliophile), Tuesday, 13 January 2004 21:57 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Bad in an AS Byatt sense of badness (pretentious overblown hooha) or bad in a Caleb Carr sense (poorly written obvious hooha)?

perhaps a cross between the two kinds of badness, but more entertaining than either.

lauren (laurenp), Wednesday, 14 January 2004 01:08 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Never read the Secret History. Gave up on The Little Friend 200 pages in once I realized she was trying to write a Southern Literary version of Harriet the Spy, and well, I preferred Fitzhugh's book so much better.

sarahweinman, Thursday, 15 January 2004 01:10 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The Secret History is a wonderful book to read when you're 17 and haven't been to college yet. I re-read it on vacation last year, though, and it rang false and the characters seemed like depressing idiots, which I guess they were always supposed to be, but I idolised them when I read it first time.

Chuck Tatum (Chuck Tatum), Friday, 16 January 2004 17:46 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

it rang false and the characters seemed like depressing idiots,

well that sounds exactly like my college experience so I'll probably like it.

anthony kyle monday (akmonday), Friday, 16 January 2004 17:51 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Also: it's way too long, loses steam with about 200 pages left to go.

Chuck Tatum (Chuck Tatum), Friday, 16 January 2004 18:17 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

that's just like college too

anthony kyle monday (akmonday), Friday, 16 January 2004 18:26 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Today I am straight man.

Chuck Tatum (Chuck Tatum), Friday, 16 January 2004 18:27 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The Secret History is a wonderful book to read when you're 17 and haven't been to college yet. I re-read it on vacation last year, though, and it rang false and the characters seemed like depressing idiots, which I guess they were always supposed to be, but I idolised them when I read it first time.

That's so true! I first read it when I was in high school and remember thinking it was great, and then I picked it up again and couldn't even get all the way through it.

El Diablo Robotico (Nicole), Friday, 16 January 2004 19:14 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

twelve years pass...

Just finished it for the second time (18ish and 34) - I think I appreciated it more this time because of the liberal arts college absurdity. It's like the first half of Kavalier & Clay or Rules of Attraction... or Buffy/Dawson's Creek. I love the melodrama of everything in the characters' lives being so weighty and Important, it's a feeling I sometimes I wish I could recapture as an adult. There's even a Flowers in the Attic angle!

As a mystery of sorts, the last 200 pages are quite good at ratcheting up the tension.

Kiarostami bag (milo z), Tuesday, 12 April 2016 05:30 (two years ago) Permalink

I have only read THE SECRET HISTORY. I think I had always looked forward to it. When I finally read it, I was rather disappointed. As Chuck Tatum said 12 years ago, it is way too long -- it's 600pp when it could be 250pp. And the other flaws mentioned are real also, I think.

But I would still quite like to read her other novels.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 12 April 2016 10:50 (two years ago) Permalink

If you think that was too long I'm not sure how you'd deal with the 800 page shaggy dog story that is 'The Goldfinch'.

Just can't get Eno, ugh (ledge), Tuesday, 12 April 2016 11:29 (two years ago) Permalink

The entire plots of both The Secret History and The Goldfinch only hold up because the protagonists are exactly the same variety of stupid.

Matt DC, Tuesday, 12 April 2016 11:58 (two years ago) Permalink

Would agree re: The Goldfinch, he has years to figure out how to get out of his rather trivial dilemma (I still enjoyed it, for all that). TSH though, give them a break they're just poor frightened (naive, overprivileged) college kids.

Just can't get Eno, ugh (ledge), Tuesday, 12 April 2016 12:13 (two years ago) Permalink

She's such a stupid writer, can't believe how seriously she's taken

a hairy, howling toad torments a man whose wife is deathly ill (James Morrison), Wednesday, 13 April 2016 00:47 (two years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

haha, I finally read the Secret History and loved it, and then read the Goldfinch and loved that too. searched up this thread and have no recollection of my earlier question but I'm rather taken with the comparison I made having not read her yet. My assessment in the end: pretentious, yes; completely readable and engrossing? also yes.

akm, Saturday, 19 May 2018 22:14 (six months ago) Permalink


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