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Secret History

You know what I have next to me on my desk right now? Donna Tartt's new book. Yes, the long awaited one, the follow-up to The Secret History, the book the literary world has been waiting for for ten years, the book journalists have to sign an official confidentiality agreement in order to get. The book I have to write a review of this week.

It's not bad, actually.

In fact, it's very, very good. Forget trying to be a blase journo , I nearly pissed myself when I saw a copy of it in the literary editor's office a few months ago. She gave it to me so I can review it, after she'd faxed over a few crazy legal documents to the London publishers. The security about this book is insane. Seriously, not even I care that much about it.

But, it's pretty damn good. Shows Zadie Smith up as the pastiche-y hack she is.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 16th, 2002 04:12 am (UTC)
Oh lord, I'm jealous - and full of questions which I'm not going to ask cause you're not allowed to answer them. Ooh, this is frustrating!

I loved The Secret History; she's such a talented writer because she manages to draw you into a story surrounding characters that are essentially and objectively hard to like. Or maybe that's just me - I'm very character-focussed in my reading, and so am always surprised when I love a book without loving any of the characters.
Oct. 16th, 2002 04:36 am (UTC)
Hee, I shouldn't gloat like that, it's terribly crass. You should have seen me when I actually got it back in August, I was e-mailing and saying "oh, by the way, I'm reading Donna Tartt's new one".

The secrecy is just demented, though. The proof doesn't even have the name of the book and author until, like the twenth page. The cover has no text at all. She obviously had some deal with the Sunday Times because apparently they had an extract on Sunday (although I don't know what aprt, as I hate the Sunday Times so I didn't see it). The book is v. v. good; sort of Carson McCullers-ish, if only because it's an adult writing for adults about children in the deep south. I'm so glad it's good; it would been such a let down otherwise.

I actually almost got to interview her, and then she cancelled all her interviews because she's doing some Irish Times-sponsored event and they have to get a total exclusive. I did interview (the very charming and funny) Jeffrey Eugenides last week, though, so I've ahd my share of authors-who-released-great-debut-books-when-I-was-about-18-and-who-have-now-written-follow-ups.
Oct. 16th, 2002 05:24 am (UTC)
Oooh! I'm drooling with jealousy! I loved The Secret History (much better than The Basic Eight), and have wanted more from her ever since!

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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