Page Turner: The Secret History

The Secret History is possibly one of the most hyped-up books I have read in a good while. Everyone I talked to raved about it, not to mention it is considered a must-read in the Dark Academia community that I joined earlier this year.

After reading it, I have to agree with them. This book is incredible! 

The Secret History by Donna Tartt follows student Richard Papen as he enrols in a small classics class at Hampden College. At first, the group of misfits live a carefree and charming lifestyle, until they go too far.

It is an engaging read. It is written from Richard’s perspective after some time has passed since the events of the novel. His reflections of the incident give great insight into his mindset. Richard is a bit of an unreliable narrator, which adds to the overall vibe of the book.

One of the great things about The Secret History is that, while charming, no one in this book is necessarily a good person besides one or two side characters. Our leads do objectively bad deeds, they say unforgivable things and commit horrid offences, yet I couldn’t help but like them.

I even found myself somewhat rooting for them while at the same time wanting them to face consequences for their actions. This made The Secret History a truly gripping read.

The dynamic of this small group is captivating. Always tense yet they are bound to one another. At times they have knives to each other’s throats

 while depending on each other to survive. 

It is a slow-paced book, which always has a bit of a foreboding atmosphere, even during the peaceful parts of Richard’s story.

I will be honest, I was a bit intimidated by the sheer size of this book. My copy is over 600 pages. However, when I bought it, I was informed that once it sets its hooks into you, You will find it near impossible to put down. That turned out to be true.

I adored The Secret History. I think I need to read more of Donna Tartt’s work soon. It was atmospheric, tense and enthralling. I highly recommend it.

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