Sunday, 11 August 2013

Gillian Flynn- Gone Girl

No doubt Gone Girl will be in in a lot of people's suitcases this summer, so my older sister bought me a copy as she thought it would be a good one to review.

 I've read most of the big summer blockbusters in previous years (The Da Vinci Code, The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, Fifty Shade of Grey etc.) out of curiosity, but without any high expectation. On occasions I've been pleasantly surprised, but often I don't understand the hype. I remember when on a tacky post A-level holiday to Zante everyone around the pool was was reading The Da Vinci Code. There was also someone with a rather unfortunate Da Vinci related tattoo (bet he regrets that now).

Anyway, Gone Girl fell into the category of nicely surprised, I'd recommend you reserve some room in your hand luggage.  
quick thanks to my smallest sister- who I had to cajole into letting me nest a book in her hair for this pic

The Plot: When Nick's wife, Amy, goes missing on the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary he becomes prime suspect for her disappearance. As the media circus intrudes and the police investigate, Nick and Amy's relationship is revealed not be as perfect as it first appears. Gone Girl is a fast paced thriller about relationships and deceit. Just how far can you trust the person you marry?

Please see after the cut for a full review

Gone Girl, begins with a cracking opener, as soon as I read it I thought 'ooooh this is going to be good'. Nick's description of the back of his wife's head is sinister and affectionate at the same time. The book really does hook you from the start, which makes it perfect lazy holiday reading.

The other thing that really grabbed me from the off was the dual narrative. I'm a big fan of reading the same story from different sides and I love unreliable narrators,because the reader gets the opportunity to make a judgement and figure thing out. I think it's quite hard for an author to present two accounts, as sometimes it can be repetitive, or one side is biased or more interesting.  Gillian Flynn does an excellent job of presenting both Nick and Amy's perspectives equally, creating a complex, conflicting narrative of marriage.

Amy and Nick are fascinating. Both are chronically insecure and have therefore constructed unsustainable personas for themselves. As the narrative progresses  the web of lies that Amy and Nick have built about themselves, their histories and their relationship unravels.

"Nick Loved a girl who doesn't exist. I was pretending to have a personality. I can't help it, it's what I've always done [...] What persona feels good, what's coveted, what's au courant? I think most people do this, they just don't admit it, or else they settle on one persona because they're too lazy or stupid to pull off a switch" 

I found Amy and Nick to be thoroughly unlike-able, but also I was sympathetic towards them. They are in some respects victims of circumstances, their carefully crafted personas a reaction to parental and social pressure to be perfect. They are an unstable combination of narcissism and low self-esteem, which as resulted in a toxic and volatile marriage. Amy is meticulous and devious and her personality makes the narrative really hard to predict.

I'd highly recommend Gone Girl, complex and well-structured, it lives up to the hype. I'll be on the look out for more of Gillian Flynn's novels.       

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