By Rebecca C.
Before reading The Secret History, I had been hearing about this book for months. I first heard about it as the foundation for the dark academia aesthetic, which I have come to know dearly. Whether it’s the tweed blazer that the main character purchases towards the beginning of the book, or long study sessions into the night, this book definitely reflects the values of the aesthetic. After seeing the name of the book a couple of times, I decided to find out more. I knew instantly that I had to read it since it was a murder mystery, at a college no less. While the book was a bit overwhelming with Greek phrases that I had to use Google Translate for, I appreciated the character development (whether it was negative or positive) and the dedication to imagery that Donna Tartt provided. So, here are the reasons why this is one of my favorite books and a reason why it needs to be improved.
- The Imagery – The Secret History probably has the most imagery that I have ever seen in a book. I read it and thought, wow I really need to incorporate some of this into my writing.
- The Characters – First off, the descension into evil that the main “friend group” faces is a gradual one that will blow your mind. Secondly, you will see sides of characters that you never even thought existed. Even the development of the smaller characters can be commended. Lastly, all of the characters have very diverse personalities, ranging from cold and pretentious to outgoing and creative.
- The Other-Worldliness – Even though there is no fantasy, there is a sort of sense that can only be described as paranormal fever-dreams. You’ll get it once you read it, as this entire book is very abnormal.
- Ancient Greek Culture – If you’re into Greek mythology or philosophy, you’ll love the references. The Secret History has definitely given me motivation to read more philosophy books.
- The Atmosphere – This book gives off the aura of mysterious contemplation. There is a ton of reflection from the main character, as it is written in first person perspective from the future, except for the epilogue, which is written from the present.
One reason NOT to read The Secret History? This book is incredibly white washed, as the only “diverse” character is a gay friend of the main character. Definitely feel free to rewrite this.