Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.
I’ve been seeing this book for so long all over the internet and I finally got around to reading it. I was so excited to get my hands on it since it was highly recommended by friends. I didn’t know what stories fall under the category of Dark Academia and now that I’ve read this, I have a solid idea of what they are. The category name itself explains it all to be honest – I don’t know why I haven’t thought of it before. The story is dark, verging on the mysterious and suspenseful.
I must start this review with nothing but praise for Donna Tartt. I have never read any of her works before and I was blown away by her writing. This is topnotch writing. The way I would describe it would be descriptive, elegant, and somewhat hypnotic.
The story itself is so addictive that I couldn’t stop reading it. I want to know what happened so badly. I want to know what Henry is thinking. I want to know what happened in Francis’s country house. I want to know why Charles is always drinking. I want to know everything and Tartt told the story in such a beautiful way that you can’t help but admire her work and get scared of the events she’s telling at the same time. It’s the kind of story that I crave. I’m disappointed that I’m not a part of a classics class right now. I would also love to wear some crisp suits, have cocktails at lunch, and talk in a dead language. All that minus the murder part lol, my conscience wouldn’t be able to take that.
I can just imagine this book as a movie or a tv series. How wonderful the setting would be. The costumes, The dialogues. How chilling.
All in all, this has successfully made it to my favorites list and would definitely recommend it to people seeking a beautifully written murder-mystery book.
Favorite lines from the book:
“Forgive me, for all the things I did but mostly for the ones that I did not.”
“I suppose at one time in my life I might have had any number of stories, but now there is no other. This is the only story I will ever be able to tell.”
“But how,” said Charles, who was close to tears, “how can you possibly justify cold-blooded murder?’
Henry lit a cigarette. “I prefer to think of it,” he had said, “as redistribution of matter.”
“Some things are too terrible to grasp at once. Other things – naked, sputtering, indelible in their horror – are too terrible to really grasp ever at all. It is only later, in solitude, in memory that the realization dawns: when the ashes are cold; when the mourners have departed; when one looks around and finds oneself – quite to one’s surprise – in an entirely different world.”– Donna Tart, The Secret History