In this brilliant debut novel, Donna Tartt gives us a richly textured and hypnotic story of golden youth corrupted by its own moral arrogance.
Richard Papen had never been to New England before his 19th year. Then he arrived at Hampeden College and quickly became seduced by the sweet, dark rhythms of campus life - in particular by an elite group of five students; Greek scholars, worldly, self-assured, and at first glance, highly unapproachable.
Yet as Richard was accepted and drawn into their inner circle, he learned a terrifying secret that bound them to one another; a secret about an incident in the woods in the dead of night where an ancient rite was brought to brutal life...and led to a gruesome death. And that was just the beginning.
©2002 Donna Tartt; (P)2002 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
"A mysterious, richly detailed story told by a talented writer." (Publishers Weekly)
"An enthralling story....The Secret History is addictive. Chances are you won't be able to listen just once." (AudioFile)
"Powerful....Enthralling....A ferociously well-paced entertainment." (The New York Times)
"Tartt's voice is unlike that of any of her contemporaries. Her beautiful language, intricate plotting, fascinating characters, and intellectual energy make her debut by far the most interesting work yet from her generation." (The Boston Globe)
It doesn't seem to ever be a good idea to read your own work. I took a chance, and just couldn't listen to this. The narration is so off-putting as to be distracting (to me, anyway). An interesting premise that might have been a good story, but I just couldn't get past the presentation.
If I had known Bunny in high school, he would have never made it to college. I would have already killed him and his annoying leeching ways before any ACT or SATS. I thought the book was well written and was easy to follow. However, the clique of scholars was annoying, and drank like a UT fraternity during Greek Week…. but they did it daily. That would explain the lack of brain cells that made these Greek scholars refer so often to Dante, an Italian writer. The narrator did not annoy me as she has some others. She created the characters and I feel she knew what their voice should be. This one is one you either like or hate. All of its faults considered, I liked it.
I felt I had to add a review that supported the author's reading. I thought it was great, and it was a unique opportunity to hear the author read the characters in the voices that she intended for them to have. I don't know why people dislike Donna Tartt's reading; I've listened to plenty of audiobooks, and I found this one to be one of the best readings I've come across. I loved her voice & the vocal inflections she added. It's not exactly a "neutral" reading, though, which maybe is what people disliked. But hey, if you want a robot to read a book to you, then listen to a Kindle.
The story is very compelling, and the writing is striking & original. I loved Donna Tartt's reading. I have no complaints and highly recommend this audiobook.
I am relatively new to the audiobook scene, but I don't need a lot of audio listens under my belt to recommend this book. The plot is fascinating and the characters so well developed. The author's narration is excellent...I was disappointed when the 21 hours were over. Every aspect of this selection was a winner.
I've listened to more than half of this book, and I had to take a break. Unbelievable and unlikable characters, combined with a very slow moving story, topped off with a terrible narrator, made it easy to set this one aside for a while. I would eventually like to know how it ends, but maybe I'll just get the print version from the library and skim the rest.
I don't understand why the author is narrating the story. The story is "told" by a male character, and most of the other characters are male as well. The author's attempt to pull off all the male voices is distracting and annoying.
I don't recommend this audiobook, and I'm sorry I wasted a credit on it.
The narrator's (author's) voice ruined this one for me. The story was interesting and well-researched if rather farfetched. However, I couldn't get past the fact that neither voice nor accent matched who the characters were supposed to be. I'd read it, not listen to it.
The author is a terrible reader. It was a constant challenge to remember that the main character was supposed to be a young man. Listening to Donna Tartt read this book drove me crazy and I finished it only because a friend had recommended the book and I wanted to get to the end of it. It was an overlong story about a group of drug addicted alcoholics.
From Austen to zombies!
I read this book years ago when it was first published. I liked it enough then, and I thought I'd give it another "read" on Audible. It was a completely different, and better, experience.
The protagonist, Richard Papen, is a bored student in small-town California. Longing for escape, he transfers to a private liberal-arts college in Vermont. There, he falls in with a tiny group of elite students and begins an intensive study of Ancient Greek. Death, paranoia, and intrigue follow.
The printed book was remarkable for its study of how people behave in such small groups--alliances form and dissolve, grudges are nursed, petty slights (or tiny acts of kindness) are magnified. By the end of my previous reading experience, however, I'd got a bit bored with the debauched rich students. The characters felt well-sketched, but flat.
Not so with the audio version. The star here is not author/narrator Donna Tartt, although she does do a good job of reading. The real headliner is the atmosphere of tension, overlaid with boredom, overlaid with frustration. The characters are still a bit flat, but their feelings--nervousness, sadness, downright paranoia--are intensified when the words are read aloud, so much so that I found myself sympathizing with the students much more.
I could have used fewer depressing tales of drawn-out partying, and at times I wished somebody would just call the rehab wagon. The story itself, however, remains a brilliant look at how an awful event can bring out the worst in everyone it touches.
I absolutely love audiobooks. There is simply nothing like having someone read you an engrossing story; not to mention you can get things done while you listen. I always have one on the go.
This book was just superb. The story was extremely strong and engrossing. If, like me, you are a murder mystery fan but appreciate a long in depth story with good character development and realistic human relationships this book is for you.
The story is a little bit Heathers, a little bit The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Reminded me a great deal of Special Topics in Calamity Physics. Unlike the narrator in Calamity Physics, though, there's no suggestion that this character is a genius - and yet, we are expected to believe that with only 2 years of non-exclusive Greek language study, he has read not only ALL of Plato in Greek, but a wide array of other classical literature. It would have been forgivable, I think, had the narration not been so absolutely godawful. The voice of Bunny is a high pitched nasal whine, like a voice someone would make while mimicking someone annoying and ineffectual. Everyone else sounds more or less alike - slightly nasal, with hints of a southern accent. I'm on the fence about whether I'd recommend this. The story is interesting, although some of the details are pretty unbelievable. But the narration is grating, at best.
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