GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn was the book this summer among people who obsess over books online. I'm always hesitant to read what's extremely popular, due to my contrariness (apparently I'm not the only one), but a friend talked me into it (thanks, Lauren!), and I'm so glad. And now I want everyone else to know: You have to read this book!
The story opens on Nick and Amy's fifth anniversary, which is an awkward occasion, because things are going badly in their marriage. Nick comes home to find the house in disarray, the kettle burning away on the stove, and Amy gone. He calls the cops, horrified, and we know he's horrified because he's the first person narrator, but... What exactly is going on here? Is Nick hiding something?
What's noteworthy about this novel, and the reason everyone's talking about it, is that it keeps you guessing. Honestly guessing, and second-guessing, and then changing your mind back again. Nothing in the story is what it seems. Flynn has done a brilliant job with all these twists and turns, taking care to provide details that answer every "but how did...?" and "why wouldn't he just...?"
From a writing perspective, I was in awe of the intricate plotting and the way the story unfolds. The book also contains some great examples of how to end a chapter or set up a cliffhanger. And Flynn does interesting things with character likability, the topic we were discussing last week.
A warning: I read the Kindle edition of the book, and it contains a table of contents with chapter titles that give away elements of the plot. I suspect the TOC is only for digital navigation purposes and that it isn't designed to be included in the book. So don't look at that (or any reviews of the book, for that matter) if you want a spoiler-free reading experience. And go out and start reading it, quick!
Good Stuff Out There:
→ Etgar Keret presents Ten Rules for Writers: "Love your characters. For a character to be real, there has to be at least one person in this world capable of loving it and understanding it, whether they like what the character does or not. You're the mother and the father of the characters you create. If you can't love them, nobody can." (Thanks, The Millions!)