Monday, 25 November 2013

BOOK REVIEW: GONE GIRL BY GILLIAN FLYNN




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It's hard to write about a book that had been discussed many times over, a bestseller praised world wide.

There are some books that start off easy and lighthearted and then grow on you as you uncover unexpected depth, and this is where popular and literary fiction find common ground. Gone Girl is such a book. But is it enough to fall in love with it? 

Novel's structure proposes two different view points on the events of a mysterious disappearance.  Nick and Amy Dunn have left their busy life in New York to run a small town pub. They are as different as chalk and cheese. But their account of each other's actions makes us wonder... Who is telling the truth? Does anyone?


The unreliable narrator structure of a novel was for the first time introduced by Agatha Christie in "The Murder or Roger Ackroyd". She used this method several times after, and one of my favorites is "Endless Night." It is "Endless Night" that in my opinion was a great inspiration for GONE GIRL. 


Just like the latter, "Endless Night" has a young talented man who marries a girl of a substantial inheritance who finds herself in peril. The difference is that GONE GIRL introduces two unreliable narrators. About half way through the book tables are turned, secrets are revealed, but all the build up ends in anticlimax.


The author herself acknowledged that she drew inspiration for the ending from Rosmary's Baby. "Yes she gave a birth to a monster... And sort of likes it." In GONE GIRL the monster is marriage. And I am certain that the books popularity may be to blame for the increase in some divorce statistics.


I have to admit that I struggled a bit while reading the book. I found Amy's narrative enjoyable, but empty of substance. While Nick's narrative lacks exciting twists that is a back bone of any crime novel. There's just not enough going on for a 100,000 words yarn and there was a moment I had to yell: "Come on, is it all that you've got up your sleeve?" 


GONE GIRL dissects marriage like a dead body and the murder of a marriage is the only one worth mentioning here. But if you crave the real murder mystery... stick with "Endless Night".



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