Marriage can be a real killer. One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times best seller Gillian Flynn, takes that statement to its darkest place in this unpausable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work "draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction." Gone Girl's toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge.
Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.
©2012 Gillian Flynn (P)2012 Random House Audio
"Flynn masterfully lets this tale of a marriage gone toxically wrong gradually emerge through alternating accounts by Nick and Amy, both unreliable narrators in their own ways. The reader comes to discover their layers of deceit through a process similar to that at work in the imploding relationship. Compulsively readable, creepily unforgettable, this is a must read for any fan of bad girls and good writing." (Publishers Weekly)
Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!
When I was in high school, I caught a late night showing of Mike Nichol’s 1966 film adaptation of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” I knew nothing about the play or the film, but Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were starring. They’d had a tempestuous, headline-grabbing relationship that I was dimly aware of. It was a warm summer evening and I had nothing better to do, so I settled in to watch.
It wasn’t long before I felt chilled and nearly sick. I remember quite clearly thinking, “What the hell am I watching?” as I watched George and Martha’s folie de deux.
Several hours into the Audible version of Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl”, I thought, “What the hell am I listening to?” I live in California, and, like that long ago evening with Burton and Taylor, it was a warm day – but I was cold, and my mouth tasted metallic, as if I’d bitten down on a bit of foil in a piece of Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum.
I knew something was wrong – terribly wrong – between Nick Dunne and his wife, Amy Elliott Dunne, but I didn’t know what.
Flynn doesn’t start to reveal what is wrong until halfway through the book. When she does, it’s like starting to eat a beautiful Golden Delicious apple, and discovering rot underneath - and then a squirming mass of maggots.
Flynn’s writing is compelling, detailed and evocative, and that makes the rotten core of the Dunne’s marriage incredibly shocking. Some of the language in the book is jarringly vulgar. The thoughts that language expressed were true to the character that said them, and one of the first indications that character did not think like other people.
This is the first audio book I’ve listened to where a split male/female narration not only worked, it enhanced the story. Kirby Heybonne was a smug, arrogant Nick Dunne. Julia Whelan was Amy Dunne, beginning with cloying (and unchanging) naïveté of Becca Battoe’s Anastasia Steele in E.L. James “Fifty Shades” series. Whelan’s narration changed with her character, and so did Heybonne’s.
This isn’t a book for those lucky, cheerful, hopeful optimists who live by Facebook posts on the power of love. It’s not a book for horror fans who safely relegate terror to demons summoned by a ‘Book of the Dead’, a la “Evil Dead” 2013. This book is for those who know that real people can be terrifying, and can do utterly horrible things. Those people are the people of Simon Baron-Cohen’s “The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty,” 2011.
The Audible book is about 19 hours long, and it’s a compelling way to pass a long drive. Sleep isn’t possible when listening.
In case you are wondering, the title of the review is a line from "Gone Girl", quoting a line from a different source.
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Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
Gone Girl is 2012's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, that gritty suspense thriller that everyone and their mother was reading. For the first half, it sucked me in with well-drawn characters, a setup that has its fingers on the pulse of the times, and a delicious sense of Hitchcockian misdirection.
The two narrators are Nick and Amy, a thirty-something pair of would-be yuppies whose magazine careers and New York City lives were derailed by the Great Recession. They have now downsized their dreams to the Midwest, characterized as the home of corn chip casseroles, bland earnestness, and shopping at Walmart. There, Nick took care of his ailing parents and opened a bar with the last of Amy's trust fund money. And, there, their marriage fell apart.
Starting from page one, we get Nick's side of things: a perpetually unsatisfied wife and a life that seems to be going nowhere. Then, on their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy disappears, leaving behind signs of a struggle and a trail of clues in the form of an anniversary scavenger hunt. Nick blinks and stumbles his way through the ensuing police investigation, and there's the sense that he's not telling us everything.
Interspersed with Nick's narrative are journal entries from Amy, painting a picture of a fairytale marriage that sours after a husband stops trying. And there's just a hint of control freak insecurity, perhaps triggered in part by being the inspiration for the goody-two-shoes protagonist of a series of saccharine children's books written by Amy's own parents over the decades, the source of her small family fortune.
It doesn't take long before the reader gets the sense that Nick, while somewhat evasive and not exactly the husband of the year, is falling into a trap. Clues in the investigation and public opinion are going against him.
Then comes a twist, and we learn that a few things about Nick and Amy’s marriage have been misrepresented. Here, the novel began to get unbelievable for me, though the suspense remained enjoyable. Would Nick be arrested? How would his sleazeball lawyer, his media appearances, his oddball sister, Amy's wealthy, creepy ex-boyfriend, a deranged father, and a couple of desperate types in a short-term housing park play into the plot? As Nick's defenses steadily crumble around him, against a far craftier opponent, Flynn keeps us guessing, even rooting for a guy who was initially hard to like.
When the story reaches its endgame, it escalates into pure absurdity, a sort of screw-turning, Stephen King-like nightmare scenario (think of him in suspense mode, not monster mode). Somewhere, a few psychologists are doing face palms. But, if you're willing to shut off your brain, it's fun, in a deliciously dark way.
All in all, this novel showed a lot of promise for roughly the first half. Flynn obviously *reads*, and has a sense of craft. I loved the unreliable narrators and the ambiguity. Unfortunately, though, once the game is revealed, the novel morphs steadily into airport bookstore territory. This isn't necessarily bad, but I'd hoped for a bit more psychological complexity. Oh well.
The two audiobook narrators are good. Kirby Heyborne, who performs Nick's parts, ranges from bemused calm to barely suppressed anger. Julia Whelan, who takes Amy's, has a girlish chipperness that works well.
This is one of those stories that, like most things that are bad for us, appeals to our baser instincts. Its only saving grace is the narration. Whelan and Heborne capture the paranoid delusions of the two main characters, their mean, selfish, petty, sickeningly narcissistic self-love, with amazing range and authenticity. You will get to the end and hate yourself for slogging through the mud with these two people with the hope that you will have earned or learned something of value. But in this story, no one pays the price of his or her immoral, unethical, and illegal actions. Moreover, Flynn's ending is cowardly. Along with the allegiance of her reader, she looses control of her characters. I was left begging for Nick and Amy simply to shut the hell up.
After this, a cleansing listen is in order. Perhaps Henry James.
Probably nothing by the author. I'd give the narrators a shot. They did their work well.
I know that the world is full of horrible people. I know that this book reflects that. This is just not what I enjoy, vindictive, selfish characters that never seem to have any redeeming value.
The lady cop. I can't remember her name. She's the only one who seemed likable. Margo, Nick's sister was ok, but she was snarky and mean in her own way. She was loyal, though.
I know art demands a reaction. I guess if that is what the author wants, she got it. But to go for a bad reaction just for reaction's sake seems cheap to me. I just really disliked the book. It never got better, either. I kept expecting some sort of turn that would redeem ... something. I would recommend not reading this. Some people loved it. Not me.
I am giving nothing away. This book was everything I love: good writing, 3 dimensional, compelling characters (I didn't say likable), a complex and twisted plot, and an outcome I couldn't second guess. The first part of the book was the set-up where, piecemeal, the details of the relationship and related events were disclosed. Second part, the ride. Unaware until it was too late to turn back, I was drawn out to sea, pulled by a growing riptide of Flynn's deft, dark imagination, to where I never expected to go. I both loved and was disturbed by this clever work; I will be reading it again, and most definitely checking out the rest of of Flynn's work. The excellent narrative duo suited the protagonists very well, and helped sell an unusual tale.
Two of the most juvenile, annoying characters and the readers are just as bad. I am shocked at the "great reviews". It is almost as bad as 50 shades of you know what.
Hmmm not sure this was a bit dark for my tastes.
No, I don't want to know anything more about either of those people.
I like stories about "real" people, but these two take it to an extreme - they are way to sick for me to want to know as much as I know about them. The first part was entertaining and intrieging, the second half I found quite depressing. On the good side - it was well crafted and narrated and kept me very interested until close to the end when I saw no hope in sight and then I felt cheated - why should I have cared about two suck sick individuals.
I completely trusted the reviews of a few people I follow and it paid off. I would have never looked for this book as it would never make my radar list.
This book is pretty course (meaning vulgar language and content), which I always enjoy if it represents reality and written into the story as a natural aspect of the story. In this case the author accomplished just that.
The story bounces back and forth from the perspectives of the husband and wife, respectively and follow different timelines, interestingly enough. The author pulls it off brilliantly as sometimes this can lead to confusion or a hard-to-follow story line.
In the end there are certainly a few hard-to-believe aspects of the story that could be interpreted as holes, but I simply decided to ignore and enjoy the story, and it worked.
The narrators did a great job and the production was good (as you probably know many multiple narrator efforts are butchered - but not this one).
Fiction: I like Paranormal, Young Adult, Historical, Fantasy, Romance, Classics. Non-Fiction: I like Historical, Military, Memoirs.
I really wanted to give this five stars--I really did--but I wasn't happy with the way things ended and had to dock a star for that. Having said that, Gone Girl is the best book I've listened to and read in a long time. Great, great writing. This was the first Gillian Flynn book I've ever read, and she can turn a phrase like few others. And the twists and turns...my poor nerves! The narration was terrific as well. Both narrators were spot on. What an all-around great book.
This was a really captivating story. I didn't want to quit listening. I did however, guess the resolution but felt it ended abruptly. It was like the author thought , "well now it is tme to stop." I appears to me that maybe the author set this up for a sequel.
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