Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

On their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy Dunne disappears, and her husband, Nick, is suspected of having murdered her... especially when it turns out that he has a young mistress, has accumulated considerable credit card debts, and that their marriage wasn’t a particularly happy one. But it’s impossible to say more about the plot of “Gone Girl” without spoilers, I’ll simply say that things are not what they seem and leave it at that.

“Gone Girl” is not my kind of book at all; it is not historical fiction (not that I’m faithful to only one genre; I like to mix it up), the writing isn’t particularly beautiful, and the characters aren’t the type I could actually, seriously root for. I have even seen the movie, so I knew what was going to happen, yet I kept turning the pages, thinking “one more chapter!”

The sticker on the cover calls the books “smart”, and naturally I’d like to claim that was what hooked me. ūüėČ The characters are devious, and keeping track of their stories, their lies and deceptions... well, that’s actually not tricky at all. But the structure is a clever one – simple, but clever without being gimmicky. 

Nick and Amy both get a chance to tell their side of the story. Or their version of the story (unreliable narrators, for sure). I found myself feeling something close to sympathy for both in turn, but, even more so, despising and even loathing them both. I suppose this is exactly what the author intended.

I once read a piece of writing advice (unfortunately, I can’t remember where it was or who wrote it) that defined a good character as someone who has skeletons in their closet. This should make readers curious. They should crave a peek at the characters’ most private lives, and an author should oblige and grant them their chance to pry. These two, Nick and Amy, certainly have piles of bones and skulls in their closets. And little by little, all the ugly truths and meanest thoughts are revealed.

While I would call this novel light reading, it is also rather dark and paints a creepy picture of relationships. I’m not sure I could say that I enjoyed it, yet it was oddly addictive.

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