Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girl
Author:
Gillian Flynn
Publisher:
 Crown
Publication date: June 5th 2012
Pages: 432
ISBN: 9780307588364
Source: Myself
Rating: 5/5
Buy at: BookDepository

Marriage can be a real killer. One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn, takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. As The Washington Post proclaimed, 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 with 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’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick Dunne’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick Dunne isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but hearing from Amy through flashbacks in her diary reveal the perky 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 left in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Employing her trademark razor-sharp writing and assured 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.

 

(and I mean that in the best of ways)

This is one messed up book. A brilliant, head turning, mind blowing, messed up book, and I have no idea how to write a non-spoilerific review of this. If you’ve read this, I’m sure you’ll know why.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past months, and especially now with the film adaptation having hit the cinemas, you’ve heard of Gone Girl. The book that most everyone swallows down in one sitting only to end up going “what the hell have I just read? oh my God, it was amazing”. And for good reason. Gone Girl begins when Nick Dunne walks into his home in the morning to find his wife Amy gone and the living room turned upside down. He calls the police, and in the blink of an eye an investigation begins. The town sets up patrols to look for Amy, the press interview Nick, the police seems to do nothing, and through it all Nick is… odd. He smiles too much at the cameras, daydreams too much of the shape of Amy’s head, thinks only of what an innocent man would say in a crime show.

Until he finds the first clue Amy set up for their customary wedding anniversary scavenger hunt. He looks for them diligently, lying to everyone of his whereabouts. In the meantime, we are allowed to read entries from Amy’s diary. She tells us of her first time meeting Nick, of her falling for him, of their first years together and of how, so slowly and so quickly, things begin to fall apart. And so the whispers begin, could Nick have killed Amy? And where is Amy?

To answer those questions: holy freaking crap. That’s all I’m going to say.

Flynn is a genius at manipulating her readers. I thought I had all the answers, but the truth was anything but what I thought it was. And thank heavens for that. The story and characters of Gone Girl are absolutely depraved. No, not in a sex obsessed kind of way, in a psychologic kind. And when it first hits you how messed up they are, when the first twist is twisted, it’s hard not to cover one’s mouth and go “oh my God, oh my God“. It’s that bad, and that good.

The thing is, the reason this book is getting so much attention isn’t so much the brilliant, sickening plot, but the fact that it exposes too many of our society’s secrets. No, I don’t mean government secrets, I mean the deep ones everyone carries but does not say. The secret hatred of our friends and loved ones, the unmet expectations, the desire to be free of someone we love but annoys us, the desire to control them,… The horrifying thing is that this could be any of us, any of our acquaintances – well, provided their insanity levels are rather high.

This exposure of humanity’s depravity is only one more thing that makes one turn the page. It’s that sort of thing where you know you’re seeing something horrible, something you should not be looking at, but morbid curiosity keeps you turning the page over and over until the book is over. And may I say, what an ending that was. As the number of pages grew thinner, I was scared of how Flynn would finish it off. It seemed an herculean task. And she was up for the job. It’s a twisted ending, one that left me in horrified fascination.

Yes, those two words sum up my reading experience of Gone Girl nicely: horrified fascination. Flynn is not only a master at playing her characters and readers, she can turn what looks like another clichéd book into an explosion of twists, gasps, and hands over one’s head while thinking “HOW?” Because it’s not just a fantastic plot she brings to the table. It’s out of this world writing, utterly complex characters, difficult themes, and the demystification of such concepts as “the cool girl” and “a happy ending”.

If you happen to have read the first 100 pages and put it aside because you couldn’t see what the big fuzz was all about, keep reading. Give it some 100 more and you’ll have your hands over your head too. Trust me, it’s that good.

 

The book in a quote

“‘My gosh, Nick, why are you so wonderful to me?’
He was supposed to say: You deserve it. I love you.
But he said,’Because I feel sorry for you.’
‘Why?’
‘Because every morning you have to wake up and be you.”

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2 thoughts on “Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

  1. Pingback: 1989 Book Tag | Tessellated Tales

  2. Pingback: Five Friday Favourites – Favourite Books You’d Gift | Tessellated Tales

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