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Gone Girl: A Novel | [Gillian Flynn]

Gone Girl: A Novel

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. 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?
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (18316 )
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Performance
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  •  
    MAB Toronto, Ontario, Canada 01-24-13
    MAB Toronto, Ontario, Canada 01-24-13 Member Since 2010

    Fiction: I like Young Adult, Historical, Fantasy, Romance, Classics. Non-Fiction: I like Historical, Military, Memoirs.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great book, but..."

    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.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 04-11-13
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 04-11-13 Member Since 2012

    Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "That’s the way to do it!"

    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.

    [If you found this review helpful, please let me know by pushing the helpful button!]

    101 of 112 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Jo Roxbury, CT, USA 07-03-14
    Mary Jo Roxbury, CT, USA 07-03-14 Member Since 2007
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    "Minority opinion"
    What disappointed you about Gone Girl?

    I guess part of the appeal of the book is the "dark and twisted characters" but in spite of any novelty that might hold, I loathed them and struggled to finish the book.


    Has Gone Girl turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Hasn't put me off the genre but certainly put me off the author.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Thought the performances were about right for what the author was trying to convey but since I didn't like that, the performances didn't count for much.


    Any additional comments?

    Started this book several times hoping I would "find out" what the buzz was all about. After I finished it - finally - I realized that the characters really were despicable people and that I had wasted my time.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 07-14-12
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 07-14-12 Member Since 2005

    A few must reads: Mr. Mercedes, Narrows Gate, Cop Town, Bomb Proof, Wayfaring Stranger, The Son (Nesbo), Dept Q series...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wow. Just....wow."

    I should say that for the first section of listening I almost gave up. Things seemed inevitable and just plain depressing. But boy am I glad I stayed with it!

    Both performances were great, but Julian Whelan was much more than that. I fell in love with her character and found her completely believable. This was a difficult, complex character to pull off.

    Not since Presumed Innocent has a mystery novel been so intriguing.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marci portland, OR, United States 04-17-13
    Marci portland, OR, United States 04-17-13 Member Since 2006
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    "Mind bending and great narrators"

    As good as this story is, I still need to start with the narrators. They were notable. I'll try other books that Julia reads, she's that good. Will Patton and William Hurt are the only other narrators I've ever "followed."
    The story is flawless. It keeps you guessing, keeps you swapping who you are rooting for, and for me, it made me even question myself and what made me choose to like a character.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cindy Gypsum, CO, United States 07-02-12
    cindy Gypsum, CO, United States 07-02-12
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    "A dark twisted story about dark twisted people"
    Would you try another book from Gillian Flynn and/or Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne ?

    Hmmm not sure this was a bit dark for my tastes.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Sad


    Do you think Gone Girl needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No, I don't want to know anything more about either of those people.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    60 of 68 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ilana Montreal, Quebec, Canada 08-31-12
    Ilana Montreal, Quebec, Canada 08-31-12 Member Since 2011

    Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The One Everybody’s Talking About"

    Most people have heard of this story by now, if only because it’s on all the bestseller lists and Reese Witherspoon is reportedly slated to produce and star in the upcoming movie. Yeah, it’s that kind of book, which I usually try to avoid like last week’s pizza crusts. But so many people I follow over at LibraryThing raved about it, added to the fact that there are not just one, but two unreliable narrators seemed like the perfect summer treat. The novel is about a young couple, Amy and Nick, whose marriage just *may* have a few problems. Amy is the only child of psychologist parents who can’t stop going on about what wonderful soul mates they are and who’ve made a fortune on a series of books featuring the “Amazing Amy” character, a girl so perfect that her real-life counterpart can't ever hope to live up to her image. Born and raised in New York City, the mecca of the publishing industry, Amy, who could have just sat back and lived on her trust fund, eventually found work being a writer of sorts for women's magazines. Nick on the other hand comes from a bookless home in small town Missouri, and against all odds made his way to the Big Apple, also to make a living as a magazine writer. When they first met, they were fascinated by one another, both for how just too clever they were, and the fact that they’re both gorgeous didn't hurt either. So they married and lived happily ever after. Not. After making their home in NYC for the first few years of their marriage, they both found themselves out of work when the magazine industry went bust thanks to the all the free content on the internet. Against Amy's true wishes, Nick convinced her to move back to his hometown, where he found perfect contentment running his own bar, whereas Amy felt like a fish out of water in a town where there are rules about what to do with tupperware. The intrigue kicks off on the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, when Nick comes home to an empty house which looks like the scene of a crime. Amy's gone without a trace, and as the police start investigating, they quickly come to suspect that Nick has murdered her. Of course, this might have something to do with the fact that plenty of evidence makes him look guilty as hell, not to mention like a complete asshole as well.

    Two things about this novel. 1) I couldn't stop listening to this audio version perfectly narrated by two readers who alternate between Nick’s and Amy’s first person accounts, and finished it in two days. 1.5) I hated* this story because 2) I was scared out of my wits, but not for the reason you might expect; people like Nick and Amy really do exist in real life, only they don't necessarily resort to psychotic behaviour... or at least, not on that scale. I've got to hand it to Gillian Flynn for being an amazing storyteller. She builds up the various elements of this thriller in a way that has the reader constantly wondering what’s coming next and makes two truly despicable characters absolutely fascinating case studies of the state of matrimony in the 21st century. For those of us who aren't married, this novel is like a warning signal not to believe it when someone seems to be too good to be true, because they inevitably are; having worked in magazines and done the rounds of the dating scene in a big city, I can personally vouch for that. Readers who are lucky enough to be in sane and loving marriages probably finish the book feeling like they got incredibly lucky. And if you’re one of those, yes, you did, and now please shut up about it.

    * hated it so much that I can't wait to listen to other works by Flynn now.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Annette 07-17-12
    Annette 07-17-12

    I'm trying to wean myself and learn to function without earbuds for more than ten minutes at a time. It hasn't been easy. I lose balance...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Marriage manual for the damned. Lovely."

    Ha. There are parts that were a little redundant but overall the performance and the storyline kept pace at a level beyond what i expected. Are we all just terrible when it comes to compromising in a marriage or is the secret in here... makes you wonder. Dark, fun and more than I expected it's a solid storyline with a nice little kick in the pants ending. In the end, you have to think about who it is that really was in the wrong despite murder, infidelity and blackmail... maybe it's just the recipe for making better people after all... i didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did, the performance really brings the frustration and anger to life. Well played.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Theresa Wichita, KS, United States 06-12-12
    Theresa Wichita, KS, United States 06-12-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The narration was great!"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    One likeable character would be a great start.


    What was most disappointing about Gillian Flynn’s story?

    Going to avoid spoilers, in case you choose to listen to this book, but my general opinion is as follows. Many people talked about the "many twists and turns," there were a few but I didn't find any that surprising, maybe I just read too many psychological thrillers but everything was pretty well laid out by the half way point, surprises over. Plus, you should always have at least one decent person in the story, even if it's an antihero that you root for despite their shortcomings, not in this one. Also, it was lengthy for the story and got boring at times. I kept waiting for things to get better, for the twists making the time worth while, for people in the book to at least get what was coming to them, but it didn't happen. I was so excited about this book after enjoying, "Dark Places," so much, but I was truly disappointed and would recommend that you skip this one entirely.


    What does Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    They did a great job with the characters, reading each so well. You could have known who was speaking without being told.


    Do you think Gone Girl needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No, it ended so badly that I follow up would be torturous.


    Any additional comments?

    If you would like a great book with great characters and fantastic twists try anything by Lisa Gardner. "Love You More," was excellent.

    61 of 71 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly 01-15-14
    Kimberly 01-15-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not as good as reviews"
    What disappointed you about Gone Girl?

    It was so slow. I kept listening thinking it would get better but never did.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Gillian Flynn again?

    Not likely. But I will listen to a little of it before I use a credit on another one.


    Have you listened to any of Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    None that I found!


    Any additional comments?

    The reviews were so great for this book, maybe it just wasn't my cup of tea. The story line was slow and it seemed to go on and on with nothing moving forward.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
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